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SSI vs SSDI: Differences, Benefits, & Applying

SSI vs SSDI: Differences, Benefits, & Applying


Navigating the process to obtain Social Security Disability benefits can be challenging, especially when it comes to distinguishing between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In this article, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about both programs to help you gain a clearer understanding of these crucial benefits.

What is the difference between SSI vs SSDI?

SSI and SSDI serve as safety nets for individuals facing challenges, but they have distinct eligibility criteria. SSI is a need-based program providing financial assistance to those with limited income and resources, while SSDI is earned through prior work and payroll tax contributions.

What is SSI and who qualifies for SSI?

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides cash assistance to those facing financial hardships due to their disabilities. Individuals with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or aged 65 and older may qualify for SSI. The Federal Government funds SSI by general tax revenues.

What is SSDI and who qualifies for SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance PaperworkSSDI, on the other hand, is designed for individuals who have a qualifying work history and have contributed to Social Security through payroll taxes. Eligibility is based on work credits earned over time. These contributions are determined by the earnings of the individual, their spouse, or parents, in accordance with the requirements set forth by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).

Can I receive both SSI and SSDI?

Yes, some individuals may qualify for both SSI and SSDI, known as “concurrent benefits.” Concurrent benefits occur when SSDI payments are lower than the maximum SSI benefit.

Comparing SSI vs SSDI (SSA)



Source of paymentsDisability trust fund.General tax revenues.
Minimum Initial Qualification RequirementsMust meet Social Security’s disability criteria.

They also must be “insured” due to contributions made to FICA based on your own earnings, or those of your spouse or your parents.
Must meet Social Security’s disability criteria.

Additionally, one must have limited income and resources.
Health Insurance Coverage ProvidedMedicare. Consists of hospital insurance (Part A), supplementary medical insurance (Part B), and Medicare Advantage (Part C). Voluntary prescription drug benefits (Part D) are also included. Title XVIII of the Social Security Act authorizes Medicare.Medicaid. A jointly-funded, Federal-State health insurance program for people with limited income and resources. It covers certain children, and some or all of the aged, blind, and disabled in a state who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance payments.

Title XIX of the Social Security Act authorizes Medicaid. The law gives the states options regarding eligibility and types of services under Medicaid.
How do we figure your monthly payment amount?We base your SSDI monthly payment amount on the worker’s lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security. We may reduce the amount if you receive Workers’ Compensation payments (including Black Lung payments) and/or public disability benefits, for example, certain state and civil service disability benefits. Other income or resources do not affect your payment amount.

We usually adjust the monthly payment amount each year to account for cost-of-living changes.   We can also pay SSDI monthly benefits to dependents on your record, such as minor children.
To figure your payment amount, we start with the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).. We subtract your countable income from the FBR and then add your state supplement, if any.

  We do not count all of the income that you have. The income amount left after we make all the allowable deductions is “countable income”.

  The sections on SSI employment supports explain some of the ways that we can exclude income.

  We usually adjust the FBR each year to account for cost-of-living changes.
Is a State Supplemental Payment provided?There is no state supplemental payment with the SSDI program.Many states pay some people who receive SSI an additional amount called a “state supplement”. The amounts and qualifications for these state supplements vary from state to state.
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