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Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income

June 3, 2019

Understanding the difference between SSDI and SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both Social Security disability programs. The standard for being found disabled is the same for both programs.

The major difference between the programs is that SSDI is tied to your work record and the money that you paid into the Social Security system, while SSI is tied to your total income to the household. SSI is for the person who has not worked at all, has not worked in several years, or who has only worked intermittently. You must have a limited income to the household, resources, and very little in assets to be eligible for SSI. The income, resources, and assets of everyone living under your roof are considered. If you are married, your spouse’s income, assets, and resources will be considered, as will those of any children living with you.

Another difference between these programs is in the amount of benefits which a person will receive. SSDI benefits are dependent on how long you worked and what you paid into the Social Security system. SSI benefits are set by the government and are affected by other income to the household.

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration representative may ask you about your household income and resources. This is an informal screening to determine if you may be eligible for SSI. You may receive a written denial stating that you are not eligible to receive SSI benefits. Please note that your application for Disability benefits will continue to be processed.

If you believe you should apply for Social Security Disability, you may contact our office online or call (412) 338-1183.

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