Differences between SSI and SSDI Benefits

Disability is a work-related risk that many Americans fail to prepare for. Because of this, they usually have a hard time in filing the appropriate benefits claims from the Social Security Administration (SSA). One of the most common problems incapacitated workers face is whether to file for a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or for a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits claim. What are the differences between these two types of disability benefits?

SSI is a strictly need-based program that has nothing to do with an employee’s work history. Granting of this kind of benefit is based on the financial needs of the disabled worker, who must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple). Also known as the disability benefit for low-income people, SSI is open for people who are 65 or older, disabled adults, and children who are disabled and blind. SSI is financed using general revenues collected by the Treasury Department.

SSDI, on the other hand, is funded by payroll taxes and is only available for those who have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust fund. This type of SSA benefit focuses on physical and mental impairments severe enough to prevent adults ages 18 and above from engaging in their current work or other forms of occupation. Moreover, for the benefit to be approved, the disability must be expected to last for a period of at least 12 months or eventually result in death.


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