There are government programs with wordy names that are often shortened to acronyms. This can create confusion, so we will look at the two programs called SSI and SSDI in this blog post, and we will explain the distinctions between them.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is in place to provide income for people with disabilities who cannot earn much on their own. This is a need-based program. To qualify for SSI, you must be able to prove that you have very limited financial resources.
Since it is a program that is only available to people with financial need, you could lose eligibility if you were to come into some money. This is why you need to take certain steps to preserve benefit eligibility if you want to help out a loved one who is enrolled in the program.
A special needs trust can be established for the benefit of a person with a disability who is enrolled in the SSI program. The trustee could use assets in the trust to improve the beneficiary’s quality of life, but SSI eligibility would not be impacted.
The same thing is true of the Medi-Cal program. This is a need-based health insurance program that many people with disabilities rely upon. When a special needs trust is established, its existence would not impact the beneficiary’s Medi-Cal eligibility status.
There is another government benefit program that people with disabilities often rely upon called Supplemental Security Disability Insurance. When you are working, your payroll taxes go toward this program. If you pay into the program sufficiently throughout your working career, you could qualify for SSDI benefits if you become disabled.
This is not a need-based program. Even if you have resources, you can potentially qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits if you become unable to work due to a disability.
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