SSI versus SSDI

What is SSI?

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. The supplemental income is provided through a monthly check to those who are elderly, blind, or have a disability. It applies to applicants on a needs-based system according to possessions and income and not work history. You do not need to have a work history to qualify for SSI. However, you will have to qualify financially through the very low income and asset limits set up by the Social Security Administration.

What is SSDI?

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. Many times, it is referred to as Disability Insurance Benefits, or DIB. SSDI/DIB is described as an insurance because those who qualify have been working long enough to actually make contributions to the Social Security trust fund through their payment of FICA Social Security taxes. FICA is a payroll tax automatically deducted from your paycheck. To qualify for SSDI, you must suffer from a disability, be younger than 65, and have earned enough "work credits." Read more about how to qualify for SSDI.

What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?

The main difference between SSI and SSDI is simply that SSI is a charity based program where the your total benefits depend on your financial needs where SSDI depends on the amount of FICA taxes you have contributed. SSI and SSDI are not mutually exclusive.

Applicants who have worked may apply for SSI and may obtain both types of disability benefits. If you qualify for both forms of benefits, that is called concurrent benefits. Unfortunately, as explained previously, SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and will only apply if your income is low enough to be supplemented. In other words, you would only get SSI if your SSDI benefits to not exceed the income and asset limits.

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