What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?


Here's a way to help through the confusion caused by the fact that SSI and SSDI just have one extra letter that differentiates them: the "SS" in SSI does not refer to Social Security but to Supplemental Security, thus SSI refers to Supplemental Security Income while SSDI refers to Social Security Disability Insurance. These two are distinct disability benefit plans that Social Security provides.

To help us look at the differences between the two, we have provided the table below:

Supplemental Security Income Social Security Disability Insurance
Who gets the benefits Those who are disabled (either mentally or physically), blind or are at least 65 years old. Those whose disability means that they cannot find "gainful" employment.
Eligibility Based on financial need. People do not need to be disabled to get this benefit, they just need to show that they have little or no resources or income. Financial eligibility is based on length of payment for Social Security premiums or taxes; People have to prove their disability to be eligible for benefits.
Who pays for the benefits Federal Government through general tax revenues. Social Security taxes - taken from the beneficiary's payroll; These taxes are referred to as Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Social Security taxes.
Amount of benefits Amount will vary depending on whether the beneficiary lives alone, with someone or is in a care facility; there are also some factors that will determine how much the benefit will be; Some states will also supplement the benefit payments so that the beneficiaries receive a higher amount. Amount is virtually the same (with those who are suffering from blindness paid a bit more), however, the amount may be deducted by varying amounts depending on the beneficiary's other income.
When benefit payments start Benefit payments start when the application is submitted, even before the approval is made. Benefit payments may only start once the application is approved. One can only apply when the disability has lasted for 12 months or earlier, if it can be shown that the disability will last for at least 12 months.
Frequency of Benefit Payments Payments are made on a monthly basis. Payments are made on a monthly basis.
Medical coverage and other benefits Medicaid is available for those who receive SSI benefits; they also get to receive food stamps. Medicare is available for those who have received SSDI benefits for 24 months.
Dependents No dependents are covered under the program. Program may also be extended to the dependents, which are children below 18 years old.
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