It can be confusing to navigate federal aid programs, including those administered by Social Security. Individuals who are blind or have a qualifying disability may seek financial assistance through either the Social Security Disability Insurance program and/or the Supplemental Security Income program.
Explore the similarities and differences between these programs, and learn how to qualify.
SSDI provides monthly payments for individuals who have paid into the Social Security system through their taxable earnings. If a person becomes disabled, he or she can apply for assistance based on this disability with enough work credits. The qualifying work history depends on the person’s age and other factors.
SSI does not depend on work history and assists blind, disabled and elderly individuals who have limited resources. SSI funds come from general federal tax revenue. Individuals who apply for SSI must prove that they are below the income threshold for this program and have a qualifying disability.
Health insurance coverage
Individuals who receive SSDI also receive Medicare health coverage. This includes coverage for hospital visits (Part A), supplementary costs (Part B), Medicare Advantage (Part C) and prescription drugs (Part D). Individuals who receive SSI will also receive health coverage through Medicaid, although the type of coverage varies by state.
Monthly payment amount
The Social Security Administration calculates SSDI payments by the person’s average earnings, with adjustments for minor children and other dependents. These payments are also subject to an annual cost of living increase.
SSI payments use the monthly federal benefit rate, which is $771 for an individual and $1,157 for a married couple for 2019. This rate also adjusts each year to cover the cost of living. Georgia residents who qualify for SSI receive an additional $20 supplement payment each month.
With SSDI, your living situation and earned income do not impact your benefits. SSI benefits may vary depending on who lives in your household and whether you earn extra money each month.