What Is The Difference Between SSD and SSI?



Both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provide benefits for people with a disability. The two terms sound very similar, and both deal with payments for people with disabilities who cannot work. 

This post will break down the terms in clear language and discuss the main difference between SSI and SSD. It is important to understand the difference between the two programs so that you can apply for the correct benefit. An SSD lawyer can help you understand the benefit criteria and ensure you apply for the benefit that fits your needs. 

Both SSD claims and SSI claims have the same disability standards. You need to meet the medical requirements set by the Social Security Administration to qualify for disability. You can also apply for SSD and SSI at the local Social Security Office or online.

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What Is An SSD Claim?

Social Security disability or SSD is a program funded through Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed people. The benefits are based on what you paid into the system. You need to have a certain amount of work credits from your previous employment to be considered “insured” and eligible for the benefit. 

To apply for SSD benefits you must be under 65. Your benefit amount is based on your previous earnings and works like the Social Security retirement benefit. Most people receive more through SSD than SSI, and your spouse and child dependents can also claim “auxiliary benefits.”

There is a mandatory waiting period of 5 months before you can collect SSD. This waiting period begins on the established onset date (EOD) of your disability. EOD is the date that Social Security says you became disabled. Once the waiting period is over, you can receive retroactive payments of SSD that can go back as far as your date of application. 

What Is An SSI Claim?

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a program that provides benefits to people with a disability who also have low income and limited resources. Your benefits are based on your need and financial circumstances, not your work history. SSI is for people who have never worked, worked a limited amount, or had a low-paying job. 

SSI is paid for through general revenue and taxes. There is no waiting period for collecting SSI benefits. 

There is an income requirement to qualify for SSI benefits. Most people who have resources that are less than $2,000 or $3,000 for a couple will be eligible for SSI. It can be challenging to understand what Social Security considers a resource. Extra income or assistance from family could lower your benefits or even disqualify you from SSI. 

With an SSI claim, you also need to report any additional income that you receive, which can also affect your benefits. We recommend you speak with an SSI lawyer for advice before filing your SSI claim. 

What Are the Main Differences Between SSD and SSI?

While the two programs have many similarities, there are some essential differences. 

The main difference between the programs is who is eligible to claim these benefits. SSD is based on previous earnings, and you need enough work credits in the system to be eligible. SSI is only based on financial need. 

In general, SSD pays more than SSI because it is based on previous earnings. The maximum federal amount for SSI in 2024 is $943 a month or $1,415 for a couple.

Can I Collect SSD and SSI at the Same Time?

If your SSD benefits are low due to low income or fewer earnings, you may be able to collect SSI at the same time. In this case, the SSI benefit would be small and boost your SSD benefits to the SSI amount. 

If you have questions about filing an SSD or SSI claim, an SSD lawyer can help. 

Contact us today. LegalASAP has a network of trustworthy and experienced SSD lawyers who are available to advise you on your case.

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