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What Is Different About SSI And SSDI?

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs are both administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but they are funded by different sources and intended for different types of cases.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is funded by contributions to Social Security and does not have income limits. It is built for people who have paid Social Security taxes in the past but are in need of their Social Security benefits prior to retirement age based on a disabling physical or mental illness or an injury.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is supported by general tax revenues and is designed to provide cash to meet basic needs for low-income disabled children and adults who have either never worked or who have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.

Once you are on Social Security disability for two years, you become eligible for Medicare. This is not the case with SSI. People on SSI normally receive Medicaid.


There are important differences between SSI and SSDI that you should be aware of:

Who qualifies — To receive SSDI, you must have worked and paid enough in with your taxes to be "insured." A commonly used method of determining whether or not you are insured is to determine if you have worked at least five out of the last 10 years before you became disabled.

There is no requirement of prior work for SSI. In fact, the SSI program limits the amount of income and assets you can have and remain eligible. You only have to be disabled and meet the income and resource requirements.

Amount of payments — SSI payments start with a basic federal benefit rate that is the same for everyone (currently $710 for an eligible individual and $1,066 for an eligible individual with a spouse). The federal benefit rate is then reduced according to how much "countable income" you have. Social Security disability payments are directly correlated to your work record, so the more you have worked and paid in through taxes, the higher your monthly amount will be.

Payments for family members — If you receive Social Security disability, your dependents may be able to receive a payment off your record. If you have paid in enough, children under 18, adult disabled children, and even some spouses, may be able to receive a check. There are no dependent payments for SSI.

Meet With Our Experienced Legal Team

The legal team at the Law Offices of Sharon J. Meyers, in Kansas City, Missouri, can further explain what is different about SSI and SSDI, and assist you in filing your claim. Our team protects your interests, helps you navigate the complex appeals process and assembles the strongest case possible. Call 816-787-0942 or email us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Social Security disability benefits lawyer.

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