What is the difference between Medicaid and SSI?


Comparing Medicaid and SSI with each other is like comparing apples and oranges. Both are good to eat but they are essentially different.


Medicaid is a health insurance program that covers the beneficiary for health expenses such as hospitalization, doctor's fees, prescription medication, diagnostic and laboratory tests, as well as partial coverage on dental, vision and mental health treatments. It is not a cash payment but beneficiaries can go to the hospital and expect that Medicaid will pay a considerable portion of one's hospital bills.

Medicaid can work along with Medicare. In fact, Medicaid acts as a supplement for Medicare, taking up the slack for some benefits that are not covered by Medicare.

Medicaid is state-run and that usually means processing of applications are faster. For Medicaid, benefits may vary depending on the state, since the state also has the discretion to add to the standard list of benefits. Also, eligibility and implementing rules may also differ from state to state. For information as to how Medicaid works in your specific state, you can ask your welfare or county social services.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This is run by Social Security for indigent citizens. It pays a monthly benefit as cash assistance to the beneficiaries. This is usually for people who have little resources but who also don't have sufficient work history. This includes people who are disabled, people who are 65 years old and above, and generally, those who have very little resources to get by.

The funds paid by Social Security can be used to pay for Medical expenses, as well as other day-to-day expenses.

Social Security is a federal government endeavor, so applications processing may be a bit drawn out.


Both require that the beneficiaries have a certain level of income. Also, you must show that the disability for which you are applying has substantially resulted in your inability to work.

Both require you to submit medical documents, as well as other proofs of your disability. When you gain eligibility for benefits, Social Security and Medicaid may require occasional reviews for these organizations to determine whether you are still eligible for the benefits.

The good thing with Medicaid and SSI is that though they are different programs, you can have these at the same time.

Was this question and its answer useful?
Not a bit
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Very useful
Have a question about insurance? Ask the experts