What is the difference between SSDI and SSI benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for operating two disability benefits programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Potential claimants are often confused about which program they may be eligible for.
What is Social Security Income?SSI is a means-tested program. As a means-tested program your eligibility for benefits is based on your financial need and not your work history. In order to qualify for SSI benefits, you must be either blind, disabled, or over the age of 65. You will not qualify for SSI benefits if you have more than $2000 worth of assets and you must be on a limited budget. Since eligibility for SSI benefits is need based and not based on work history, children who are disabled or blind may also be eligible for benefits. However, a SSI beneficiary's dependents are not eligible to receive SSI benefits. Additionally, you must have under $2,000 in assets ($3000 for a married couple) and limited income. Children who are blind or disabled may also be eligible to receive SSI. A disabled person on SSI is entitled to also receive Medicaid. Presently, the monthly maximum amounts for SSI benefits in 2016 are $733 for an eligible individual and $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. Note, however, that these monthly amounts may be reduced if you receive mitigating countable income from another source.
What is Social Security Disability Insurance?Eligibility for SSDI benefits is based on your work record. In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must be under the age of 65 and presently unable to work. You must also have earned enough "work credits" prior to your disability. For example, if you are age 31 and over, you are only eligible for SSDI benefits if you worked at least 5 out of the last 10 years immediately preceding your application for benefits and paid Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) premiums while employed. Unlike SSI benefits, a SSDI recipient's spouse and/or children are eligible to receive partial benefits known as "auxiliary benefits." Since SSDI is based on work record, the benefits that any individual recipient may be eligible to receive can vary dramatically. If you want to check what your estimated benefits will be you can log onto the Social Security Administration's website at www.ssa.gov.