How are SSI and SSD different?

The Social Security Administration runs several programs that provide financial assistance to people in need, not only in Ohio but across the nation. Among the most commonly used of these are Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSI, and Social Security Disability Insurance, which sometimes goes by the abbreviations SSD or SSDI. According to the National Council on Aging, they are similar in that they provide benefits partly on the basis of long-term disability. Between that and the similarities between their abbreviations, it is understandable that you may confuse the two. As a matter of fact, however, they are significantly different in other respects. 

There are two groups of people who may qualify for SSI: elderly adults and disabled people of any age. SSI is a need-based program, which means that you need to be able to demonstrate that you have limited resources and reduced earning income capability due to your disability and/or age. The Social Security Administration does not take your past work history into account when determining your eligibility for SSI.

To qualify for SSD, you must have a qualifying work history. If you have been disabled all your life and have never worked as a result, you may still qualify for SSD on the basis of the work history of a family member, such as a parent or a spouse. Any disabled person with a qualifying work history can apply for SSD benefits; your age does not impact your eligibility in this case.

Partial or short-term disabilities do not qualify for either SSI or SSD, and you must meet the Social Security Administration’s strict definition of disability to be eligible for either. Nevertheless, because it is possible have a work history that qualifies you for SSD and limited resources that qualify you for SSI, it is possible to apply for and receive both. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.