Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are federal programs that allocate financial resources to individuals which the government has determined to be “disabled.” The Social Security Administration administers each of these programs and they each have very different financial requirements.
SSI is a means-tested program, SSDI is an entitlement program
SSI is a means-tested program that was designed to meet the basic needs of older Americans, the blind and disabled individuals who would otherwise struggle to meet the financial needs of their ongoing survival. Being means-tested means that only individuals with specific financial situations within the range of the program’s guidelines may qualify. Those with higher incomes or savings may not qualify for means-tested programs such as SSI.
SSDI differs from SSI in that it is available to any person who has paid into the Social Security System for a minimum of ten years, regardless of current income, assets, or savings.
SSI beneficiaries typically receive Medicaid, SSDI provides access to Medicare
In most situations, anyone who qualifies for SSI automatically receives Medicaid Benefits, as well. Medicaid is a joint state and federal program which provides comprehensive healthcare to those who qualify. Program specifics vary greatly from state to state.
SSDI beneficiaries, however, are eligible to receive Medicare two years after they are found to be eligible for SSDI. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers hospital services but not all primary medical treatments. Medicare is not as comprehensive as Medicaid.
Financially, SSI and SSDI offer recipients different benefits:
- In 2015, the average SSI payment is about $733 per month, per individual.
- In 2015, the average SSDI payment is about $1,165 per month, per individual.
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