What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two different disability benefits programs offered to claimants with a disability preventing them from being able to work.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is paid for by Social Security taxes deducted from a worker’s pay. To be eligible for the SSDI program, workers must pay into the program and have enough credits to be eligible. Therefore, not all people are eligible for this program. If qualified, the amount Social Security pays a disabled worker depends on the amount contained in that person’s Social Security earnings record.  SSDI benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, window(er)s, or adults that have been disabled since childhood.  SSDI monthly benefits are calculated based on the amount of the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays disabled or blind adults and/or children who have limited income and other resources. Claimants must meet the living arrangement requirement by the SSA.  You do not need to have paid into this program, but rates depend on various factors.  SSI monthly benefits vary based on the federal benefit rate which may be supplemented by the state or decreased based on resources or countable income.  For more information on SSI, visit the SSA’s website.

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