What’s the difference between Social Security Disability Income and Supplemental Security Income?

Fulton & Barr, Attorney’s at Law
Fulton & Barr: The Legal Pad
Thursday, October 30, 2014


Social Security Disability Income, SSDI and Supplemental Security Income, SSI are Social Security Administration governed incomes available for people who are disabled or blind. Beyond being governed by SSA and having the same disability requirements, these two sources of income have a lot of differences.

Social Security Disability Income eligibility is determined based on the number of work credits you’ve received up until you apply for SSDI. Work credits are determined by SSA based on your total yearly income or self-employment income. You can earn up to four work credits every year.

In 2014, you earn a work credit for each $1,200 in wages or self-employment income. With a maximum of four yearly credits, that equals $4,800 in income to earn the maximum amount of credits for 2014. The number of credits you need for eligibility changes based on your age, but you must be at least 18 years old to qualify.

To find out how many work credits you have established, sign up for an online account and request a copy of your social security statement.

If you are over 18, disabled or blind and have the correct number of work credits, you are likely eligible for SSDI. SSDI is paid out of a disability trust fund, which is funded through payroll taxes. When you have enough work credits, you are considered “insured” because you’ve contributed enough money to FICA based on your earned income.

Supplemental Security Income eligibility is not based on work credits, but instead, on financial need. The applicant needs to fall within the assets and income requirements to be approved for SSI, which is determined by the Federal Benefit Rate.

The 2014 Federal Benefit Rate, FBR is $721 per month for a single qualified person and $1,082 per month for a qualified couple. In order to be within the income limits, you cannot make more in “countable income” than the amounts mentioned above. Countable income means that not all of your income will be used to determine your income limit, you are allowed deductions.

As for assets, you are allowed to have no more than $2,000 per single person or $3,000 per couple at any given time.


Another difference between SSI and SSDI is that children may also be eligible for SSI benefits based on limited income and resources. For more information on applying for a child (under 18 years old) with disabilities, visithttp://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/apply-child.html.

SSI money comes from general tax revenue and not a trust fund like SSDI. Also, people who qualify for SSI may also qualify for Medicaid and food assistance.

Overall, both SSDI and SSI were created by the government to provide benefits for people who are disabled and blind. If you or someone you know has been wrongfully denied SSI or SSDI, please call Fulton & Barr at (800) 868-2110.

Fulton & Barr will help you get the benefits you deserve!

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