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While the names are very similar and they have similar purposes, there are a few marked differences between Social Security Disability and Social Security Income. Some of these differences include qualification guidelines, program financing, Social Security benefits income amount and medical coverage.

Qualification Guidelines

The qualification guidelines for SSDI and SSI benefits differ on one qualification only, which is whether or not you have paid taxes. If you've paid Social Security taxes, then you can apply for both SSDI and SSI. If you haven't paid taxes, then you will only qualify for SSI benefits.

SSDI was implemented to help blind people, adults who have been disabled since childhood and other disabled workers. To apply for SSDI, a person must have enough work credits, which is based on taxable employment in the form of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes. This means a person 24 years old or younger must have earned at least six work credits in the three years before disability started. A person between the ages of 24 and 31 must have earned credits for working half the time between the age of 21 and the age the person became disabled. A person over 31 must have earned at least 20 work credits over the 10 years prior to becoming disabled.

SSI was created to help children and adults with a medical condition that's expected to last for a year or longer, and which prevents them from working. Qualifying people must be U.S. citizens with a total countable income that is below the Supplemental Security Income levels. The qualifying medical conditions are determined by the Social Security Administration. The list includes but is not limited to chronic conditions, such as disorders of the musculoskeletal system, amputations, vision disorders, hearing loss, speech problems, respiratory illnesses, chronic heart failure and heart disease, neurological problems, schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, cancer and more.

Program Financing

Another major difference between SSDI and SSI is how the programs are funded. SSDI receives funding specifically from Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers and self-employed people. These tax payments come straight out of most workers' paychecks. SSI is financed by general revenues collected by the Treasury Department.

Benefit Amount

Qualifying individuals receive monthly SSDI benefit payments based on their Social Security lifetime earnings. Basically, benefit recipients are receiving the money back that they've already paid into Social Security taxes.

People who receive SSI benefits receive monthly payments based on their individual demonstrated financial need. As of the beginning of 2017, the federal maximum payment for SSI is $735 monthly for an individual and $1,103 for a couple. Since each state can contribute to the federal funds provided, the actual SSI amount a person receives varies from state to state.

Medical Coverage

Since a person receiving SSDI or SSI typically isn't working, or isn't working enough to get health insurance, he or she can get coverage through a federal insurance plan. People who receive SSDI benefits can utilize Medicare coverage after receiving benefits for two years. SSI participants are automatically eligible for Medicaid as soon as they start receiving benefits.

These are the main differences between Social Security benefits income and Social Security Income. When you apply for benefits, the Social Security Administration will screen you for both SSDI and SSI. Some people can claim both, while some may be eligible and approved for one or the other.

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