There are many acronyms and terms that we throw around when discussing Social Security income and payments. Some Georgia residents may be confused about the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Although the terms are deceptively similar, they have significantly different meanings. It’s important to know the difference between the programs when attempting to figure out eligibility.
SSDI is a benefit that is designed to assist those who have suffered severe mental and physical impairments. Those disabilities are so severe that people are prevented from working. SSDI benefits may be provided to blind or disabled workers, and they may also be distributed to children, widows or widowers, and adults who have been disabled since childhood.
Alternatively, SSI is designed to benefit the older population, particularly those living in the low-income brackets. SSI is also provided to adults who have been disabled since childhood. Finally, children who are both disabled and blind also receive SSI. That is only for people who are living near the poverty level with their severe disabilities.
SSDI is funded by the Social Security Administration, which collects payroll taxes. On the other hand, SSI is part of the general fund, and revenues are collected by the Treasury through other taxes.
SSDI is an older program, dating back to 1960. SSI is about 14 years younger than SSDI, and it was created to replace a confusing mess of state regulations and provisions that had been governing low-income sponsorship. SSI is not dependent upon the lifetime earnings of an individual, but rather it is a need-dependent program that provides assistance to low-income groups who are generally unable to work.
Source: AARP, “What’s the difference between SSDI and SSI?” Stan Hinden, June 13, 2012