I regularly get phone calls or emails from potential clients who tell me that they “want to apply for SSI.” In some respects “filing for SSI” has become a shorthand phrase for someone who wants to file for disability, but, in truth, there is a huge difference between SSI and SSDI.
SSDI stands for “Social Security Disability Insurance” and refers to benefits payable to claimants who have enough credit hours to be considered “insured” for disability. The monthly payment is a function of what you have paid in to the system. In my practice the average SSDI monthly payment is around $1,50o.
SSI stands for “Supplemental Security Income” and refers to welfare benefits payable to claimants who do not have enough credits to be insured for disability. The maximum monthly payment is set out in the law – and for 2011 is $674 per month for an individual.
Last week, for example, I received a long email from a concerned woman who was writing on behalf of her father. Apparently, her father had worked at a very physical job for over 20 years before suffering a stroke in 2002. This gentleman filed for Social Security disability in 2002 and was denied at a hearing, which I will assume was held at some point in 2003.
After being denied, this gentleman did not file anything else. He remained at home, unable to work because of the ongoing complications from the stroke as well as depression and anxiety.
In 2009, the gentleman filed a second application. In May, 2011, he appeared at a hearing and in July a “fully favorable” decision was issued.