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SSI and SSDI: What's the difference?

When people think about Social Security benefits, they often think about retirement benefits. These benefits are funded through payroll taxes.

Retirement benefits aren't the only form of assistance offered through the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are also two types of disability benefits that Social Security provides: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

While these are both classified as disability programs by the SSA, they serve different groups of people. These are the key differences between the two programs.

Supplemental Security Income

SSI provides benefits for those who are at least age 65, blind or disabled and have low income. These benefits aren't based on someone's work history. Instead, SSI benefits are based on your income and resources. Resources may include stocks, bonds and other property.

As a general rule, the more income and resources you have, the lower your benefits will be. The maximum amount of benefits you can receive this year is either $735 (single) or $1,103 (couple).

Social Security Disability Insurance

Unlike SSI, SSDI eligibility is based on your work history. People are usually eligible for SSDI benefits if they have five years of work history over the past 10 years. In addition to the work requirement, applicants must also demonstrate that they've suffered a disability that is preventing them from being able to work.

Applicants are often denied when applying for SSDI benefits. One of the primary reasons for a denial is that the applicant is unable to adequately demonstrate they've suffered a disability. Getting documentation from a doctor can help strengthen your claim if you've suffered a disability and are unable to work.

Can you receive both SSI and SSDI at the same time?

It's possible you may be able to receive both SSI and SSDI benefits at the same time. This is referred to as "concurrent benefits." Concurrent benefits are typically received if someone is receiving a very small amount of SSDI benefits. If your SSDI benefits are low, it may be beneficial for you to investigate whether you're also eligible for SSI benefits.

Social Security's rules and regulations can be complex. Understanding which programs you may be eligible for can help make applying for benefits easier.

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Shawn Taylor, PLLC
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Charleston, WV 25301

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