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How is SSI different than Social Security disability?

The Social Security Administration has various programs to support Americans financially.

Social Security Administration

Two of the programs are targeted at helping people with disabilities.


Social Security: How to tell which benefits you can receive

What is SSI?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been successful at keeping the retired and disabled people from falling into poverty. Right now, about one in five Americans receive some benefit from the SSA. Additional information can be found here.

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. Currently, about 5 million Americans receive SSI payments. It is designed for aging adults and people with disabilities who have limited income.

Program eligibility is determined by age, disability, income, and resources.

What is SSDI?

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. About 7 million people receive  monthly SSDI payments. In order to qualify, you must be registered as disabled. You’ll need to satisfy work history requirements as well. Keep in mind that a spouse or parent can be used to satisfy the work history requirements.

When a recipient reaches their full retirement age, this benefit automatically convert to a retirement benefit. Most beneficiaries will have the same benefit amount.

If you qualify for SSDI payments, you will automatically qualify for Medicare coverage after 24 months.

Can you claim both?

You can claim both SSI and SSDI. However, you will have to satisfy both sets of requirements. SSI recipients are required to report changes of living arrangements or income. If you have questions for the SSA about eligibility, call 1-800-772-1213.

You can apply for SSDI benefits online. SSI also has an online portal, but is only available for adults with a disability.

Before you start the process, be aware that you could be waiting 3-5 months before hearing back. If you have a severe disability, you can apply for an expedited application review using the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) classification.


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