SSA, SSI, SSDI, SDI, Medicare, Medicaid, Medi-Cal. So many acronyms sound so much alike yet represent programs that differ greatly.
SSA = SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION This is the Federal agency that administers SSI and SSDI, Retirement Benefits, among others.
SSI = SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME This is a needs based program. To qualify you must have a medical/mental health condition that prevents you from any Substantial Gainful Activity (work) for a minimum of 12 months and have little or no income and fewer than the required work credits for SSDI eligibility. Personal assets may include 1 home (in which you live), 1 car and less than $2,000 in accumulated assets: Savings, Checking, 401k, 403b, IRAs, Cash Value Life Insurance, etc.
SSI-linked Medi-Cal comes with and SSI approval. It is No-Share-of-Cost Medi-Cal.
In California, in 2010, an individual who lives independently with cooking facilities and is eligible for SSI will receive $845.00 per month in total income.
The visually impaired will receive $908. Additional sums are available depending upon living situation and family dynamic. Check www.ssa.gov for further information.
SSDI = SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE
SSDI is available to those who have a disabling illness/condition and who have accrued at least 40 “work credits”. In 2010, one credit is accrued for each $1,120 of earnings, up to the maximum of four credits per year.
FICA (Federal Insurance Contribution Act) deductions from payroll checks pays for Social Security Retirement, however, if you become disabled prior to retirement age, SSDI becomes available to you.
Unlike SSI, SSDI has no assets or income limits.
There is a five month waiting period after approval before payments begin. Let’s say you apply in January and you are approved in February. Your waiting period would then extend through July, you are eligible for payment in August, the payment arrives in early September.
SSDI recipients are eligible for Medicare after 24 months (or the equivalent in retroactive payment) of SSDI payments. See www.ssa.gov for more information.