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What is the difference between Social Security and SSDI?

Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) both provide benefits to those who can’t work.

Social Security Administration

Both programs are also run by the Social Security Administration (SSA).


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How are Social Security and SSDI different?

Although Social Security and SSDI are both run by the SSA, each has different eligibility requirements. Both programs are intended to help those who are unable to work. Read more about it here.

Social Security benefits replace a percentage of someone’s income based on lifetime earnings. It also provides a survivor benefit and income to people who become disabled. Social Security retirement benefit amount depends on lifetime earning and when you decide to start receiving benefits.

SSDI is also based on work earnings and funded through payroll taxes, but with the purpose of providing benefits to those who can no longer work because of their disability. To qualify for SSDI, you must meet their definition of disability.

A qualifying disability would be one that leaves you unable to work that has lasted, or is expected to last at least one year.

Similarly to Social Security benefits, SSDI only covers a portion of your income. For many people, the benefits are barely enough to keep them above the federal poverty level.

The SSA claims that for most SSDI beneficiaries, the monthly payment accounts for the majority of their income. That money is very useful to help the beneficiaries meet their basic needs.


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