The Social Security Administration manages two different types of disability programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), each with differing rules and regulations. If you receive either or both of these benefits, the first step in fully understanding your benefits is to become familiar with the basic differences between the two programs.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the general tax funded disability program for individuals who meet minimum eligibility requirements for having a disability and limited income and resources. This benefit is provided to those who are deemed disabled based on Social Security’s guidelines and who have not worked the minimum number of quarters required to receive benefits at a higher level through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This monthly benefit amount is federally capped every year and depending on the state in which you reside you may also receive supplemental payments in addition to your benefit from Social Security.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is the disability benefit that is funded by the disability trust that is provided to individuals who are deemed disabled based on Social Security’s guidelines and who have paid into the disability trust through employment a minimum number of quarters. The minimum number of quarters needed to draw SSDI benefits will vary by individual as there are a variety of factors that impact this calculation.
The dollar amount that an individual may receive while on SSDI will also vary individually as the calculation is based on your specific employment history, however generally the payments that an individual may receive on SSDI will be higher than the payments that an individual will receive on SSI.
The Bottom Line
SSI and SSDI are two distinct disability programs through the Social Security Administration. In order to make decisions for your living situation knowing the difference between these programs is vital as they each offer different work incentives, protections and benefit reductions in different scenarios.
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