When Philadelphia residents are in need of serious help, it often pays to get assistance from multiple places. This is certainly the case when a person is struggling with his or her finances because of an illness, injury or other condition.
While there are different kinds of benefits that may be available to individuals in need of help, the different benefits are treated differently under the law. For example, last week, this blog discussed the differing tax consequences between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security disability benefits.
The reason these benefits are treated differently is because the programs exist for different purposes. As discussed previously in this blog, disability benefits are provided based on physical and mental impairments that preclude a person from continuing to earn an income through his or her work. There are certain medical requirements that must be satisfied in order to be considered disabled, and the funds are paid from a trust fund that the worker has paid into during his or her prior periods of employment.
On the other hand, SSI benefits are paid to low-income and low-asset individuals aged 65 and older, or people that are disabled who don’t qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because they haven’t contributed enough during prior periods of employment, and people who are blind. So, the main difference is that SSI benefits typically are provided for those with limited income and assets, and SSI benefits are not directly tied to the individual’s work record.
Based on the differences in the two programs, a person may qualify for one kind of benefit but not the other, as the eligibility requirements vary. For instance, individuals may not qualify for SSI benefits unless their resources are below a certain amount. Accordingly, those in need of help should understand these distinctions to know what benefits they may qualify for, and how to go about receiving each kind of benefit.
Source: AARP, “What’s the difference between SSDI and SSI?,” Stan Hinden, June 13, 2012