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What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?

Any worker who is unable to work due to disability or age should understand that there are options to pursue benefits that can provide crucial financial support. Without the ability to work, a person can struggle enormously to cover daily living expenses, medical care and other basic needs.

There are a number of different sources of support that can be effective means of alleviating some of the financial strain that can come with a disability. Two major sources of support that people may have heard of are Supplemental Security Insurance and Social Security disability insurance. But many people may not understand the fundamental differences between these two programs. 

Basically speaking, the main difference between SSI and SSDI is how they are funded. The Social Security Administration specifies that SSDI is financed through employment taxes paid by employees and employers in paychecks; SSI is funded through general taxes.

The reason this is important to understand is that the way these programs are funded impacts who is eligible to collect support when necessary. Specifically, only workers who have contributed to Social Security through employment taxes may be insured by the program. If a person has not paid enough into the program, he or she is typically unable to collect SSDI.

However, SSI is based on the need of applicants and there is no requirement that they must have paid a certain amount to qualify for support. The people who often pursue and collect SSI include blind people, those over the age of 65 and is disabled. People under the age of 18 also typically qualify for SSI, not SSDI because they do not typically have a long enough work history to qualify for SSDI.

This is just a basic explanation of one main difference between SSI and SSDI. Any person who has specific questions or concerns about eligibility and expectations of these programs should discuss them with an attorney familiar with disability programs.

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