What Is The Difference Between Social Security Disability (SSD) Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Posted April 1, 2021

There are two programs run by the Social Security Administration for disabled people, and they are differentiated by the work history of the claimant.

Regardless of whether one seeks benefits for Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, or both, the disability standard is the same, meaning that one must be disabled from any gainful employment to be entitled to benefits under either program.

Supplemental Security Income, commonly known as SSI, can be drawn by people (even minors) who do not have a recent work history, are disabled, and meet the income and asset requirements. Similar to food stamps, if an individual seeking SSI themselves has too much income or assets or lives in a household with too much income or assets, they will not be eligible for SSI benefits.

The asset and income limits on Supplemental Security Income are quite low. As a simple example, most people who qualify for Supplemental Security Income will likely qualify for and already have a state-supported medical card and food stamps. However, there are detailed income requirements that can be discussed on a case-by-case basis and it is a pretty good idea for claimants to discuss these requirements with us to see if they qualify. Another way one can find out if they are financially eligible is to be evaluated by the Social Security Administration as to whether countable assets and income exceed the maximum levels.

Social Security Disability is a benefits program based on the income paid by a claimant into the Social Security system through taxes taken from your income. If you are awarded Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you will receive an amount per month identical to what your Social Security retirement benefits would be.

In order to get Social Security Disability, one must prove that they are disabled prior to their “date last insured,” which is the last day you are considered covered for Social Security Disability benefits and is calculated by the Social Security Administration based on your earnings. Under no circumstances can your date last insured be later than five years after the quarter in which you last had substantial gainful income. In some circumstances, it can be much earlier than that though. This makes the “date last insured” a major consideration in developing the evidence in the disability claim since it would be necessary to show disability prior to that date.

There are many other complex elements in explaining the differences between these programs and how they interact in developing an effective disability claim that we would be happy to discuss with you.

If you have further questions and would like to talk to us about this topic or any other topic concerning Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income, please give us a call at (800) 842-0426 for a FREE consultation.


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