Oregon residents who have applied for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance know that the rules, requirements and claims approval process can be very confusing.
With that in mind, today’s blog post is intended to be the first in a recurring series of posts on basic facts, definitions and distinctions that might be helpful to people applying for disability benefits under either program. Accordingly, the first thing we’d like to do is distinguish the SSDI and SSI programs from one another.
What do the SSDI and SSI programs have in common?
The Social Security Administration administers both programs and uses the same criteria to establish whether an applicant is disabled. Although there are some differences in the rules, forms and documentation required, both programs share the same basic application and appeals process as well.
How do SSDI and SSI differ?
For our purposes, the most important difference to recognize is that the SSDI and SSI programs are intended to benefit different groups of disabled Americans.
SSDI benefits, for example, are available to disabled workers who have earned enough work credits to qualify and can meet the SSA’s definition of “disability.” Children of eligible workers –as well as widowers, widows, and disabled adult children who have never worked — are also able to obtain SSDI benefits. This program is funded by the Social Security taxes that employers, employees and self-employed individuals pay each year.
SSI, by contrast, is tailored to serve very low-income people who do not possess substantial assets, including disabled adults who have not worked enough to qualify for SSDI, individuals 65 and older, and disabled children. The SSI disability benefits program receives its funding from the federal general fund.
Source: AARP, “What’s the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?,” Stan Hinden, AARP Bulletin, June 13, 2012