What is the difference between SSI and Social Security benefits?


SSI or Supplemental Security Income is actually managed by the Social Security administration and is thus part of the line of benefits from Social Security. In fact, a person can receive SSI along with other Social Security benefits at the same time - the eligibility requirements, however, may vary.


SSI requires beneficiaries to fall under at least one of these categories (along with the fact that they have limited income and assets):

  • Senior citizens
  • Blind
  • Disabled

Social Security benefits, on the other hand, may have more stringent requirements.


SSI may be evaluated differently from other Social Security benefits, since SSI benefits are usually evaluated based on the work credits you earned. SSI is based on needs and the fact that one needs financial assistance to sustain that person on a day-to-day basis. Currently, for one to be eligible, he must have assets less than $2,000.


SSI is funded by general funds generated by the U.S Treasury. This includes proceeds from corporate taxes, personal income and other taxes.

The other Social Security benefits, on the other hand, are funded by FICA (Federal insurance Contributions Act) or SECA (Self Employment Contributions Act). This means that the employee or self-employed individual make contributions to Social Security through deductions in their payroll.

Medicaid/Medicare and Other Assistance

One distinct advantage about being eligible for SSI is that it allows you to also be eligible for Medicaid, if you have been receiving SSI benefits for at least two years. SSI beneficiaries may also be qualified to receive food stamps - this may vary from state to state.

Those who are beneficiaries of Social Security disability may be eligible for Medicare.

Income of Spouse and Other Members of the Household

SSI benefits may be affected by the income of other persons in the household such as your wife or children, something that is sometimes referred to as "deemed income". However, other Social Security benefits such as Disability benefits will not be affected by deemed income.


SSI only pays you, the beneficiary. There will be no other payments to your dependents. On the other hand, other Social Security like disability will provide payments to eligible dependents (children and in some cases, spouses), if you were able to pay "enough" into the program.

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