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Don’t get lost in the SSA alphabet

For many of our Ohio clients, the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) programs can certainly feel like the typical government alphabet soup of confusing acronyms. The SSA administers three programs, Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each of these programs offers Americans a valuable financial benefit, but they are different and have their own rules and eligibility requirements.

OASI is the retirement program that most people refer to when they mention Social Security. It was created to provide an additional source of retirement income to prevent the elderly from being left with little or no income after they retire. Your FICA payroll tax deduction funds the program. 

SSDI is the disability program. In order to qualify, you have to have worked the requisite number of quarters and suffer from some type of debilitating medical condition or illness. The medical condition must prevent you from working and make it unlikely that you will return to work in the near future.

With your SSDI application, you need to provide enough information to the SSA to enable them to determine if you meet the statutory definition of disabled. You have to provide your education and work history and a full medical history of your disabling condition or illness. An attorney can be helpful in assembling the application for a successful claim.

The SSI program is for individuals who have never worked (children) and cannot qualify for SSDI, and the elderly or disabled who have very limited means. As its title suggests, it can provide a supplemental income to help beneficiaries make ends meet from month to month.

Source: Vnews.com, “Social Security Q&A: Supplemental Security Income for Injured Teen,” McClatchy-Tribune News Service, April 27, 2014

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