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SSI vs SSDI – What is the difference?

March 2, 2012 by The Sawaya Law Firm

After you apply for disability benefits, and are found disabled by Social Security, you are then eligible for either SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SSDI (Social Security Disability Income), or both. So, what is that all about?

SSI and SSDI are the two Social Security Administration programs that are available for disabled persons.

SSDI, or, Social Security Disability Insurance, also called Survivors, Retirement, Disability Insurance benefits, is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for this program, you must have paid a certain amount into the Social Security program before you became disabled. The general rule is, you must have worked at least five out of the last ten years. This means, paying payroll taxes, or Social Security taxes during this time. However, different rules apply for people of different ages, your best resource is to contact SSA for more on this, visit the SSA’s website, for more information.

SSI, is defined by the SSA as Supplemental Security Income. It is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes), given to disabled persons who have limited income and resources. Please note that the requirements are not at all dependent on your payment into the Social Security system in your working history. Eligibility is solely based on your income and resources. SSI recipients who are eligible for this program must meet these financial and resource requirements. The Social Security Administration’s income and resource limits can be found on their website, or by calling you local SSA office.

In conclusion, a person who is found to be disabled by the SSA will have to be found to be at least eligible for one of these two programs; SSI or SSDI. It is possible to qualify for these two programs simultaneously. Also, it is possible to qualify for one or the other. And unfortunately at times, a truly disabled person does not qualify for either program, being that they are have too much income or resources to qualify for SSI, and in addition, have not paid enough taxes in the Social Security program to qualify for SSDI.

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