What is The Difference Between SSI & SSD?

Many people use the term “Social Security” to refer to both “Supplemental Security Income” (SSI) and/or “Social Security Disability Benefits” (SSD or SSDI). The Social Security Administration administers both of these programs.  However, the eligibility AND the amount of benefits you receive are different for each program.

The Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) pays monthly benefits to people with low/limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. The Social Security Disability Program (SSD or SSDI), however, pays benefits to workers who have paid Social Security taxes over a sufficiently long period of time, and the benefits amount is based on the worker’s earnings record. The more work credits you have, the greater your SSD benefits will be.

There is a limit on the amount of money that you can earn when you receive BOTH SSI and SSD benefits. The reason behind this is simple: if you can earn an income, you aren’t considered disabled anymore.

However – unlike the SSI benefits for low income people – the SSDI program does NOT put any limit on the amount of assets or unearned income you have.

Similarly, SSI will look at your spouse’s income while SSD does not look at your spouse’s income when determining your Social Security benefits.

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