Differentiating between SSDI and SSI

For people with disabilities to benefit from social security, they must meet certain requirements that the Social Security Administration (SSA) mandates by law. There are two kinds of programs that the agency oversees to help those who are unable to work and make a living: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Both SSDI and SSI are programs for people with disabilities that meet the medical requirements as defined by the agency. People are considered disabled when they are physically or mentally impaired, which keeps them from doing substantial gainful activity. Furthermore, they must also have conditions severe enough that inhibit them from doing any job, given their education, age, and skills.

The main difference

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is provided to workers who have enough work credits, while Supplemental Security Income (SSI) aids low-income persons who have either never worked or who don’t have enough work credits.

SSI is needs-based, unlike SSDI, which is financed through years of contribution to the FICA social security tax. Those who qualify for SSI should have assets less than $2,000 and very limited income. Because of their income, they also receive Medicaid, as well as food stamps. The monetary compensation they will receive depends on their location and the amount of their monthly income, if any. Moreover, the benefits start on the first month after being approved by the SSA, different from SSDI which has a five-month waiting period.

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