SSI vs. SSD: A Comparative Guide to Social Security Benefits

More than 42 million Americans have disabilities that often lead to financial strain. Only 4% of those Americans had employment as of 2022.

When it comes to financial aid, there are certain disability qualifications for adults to meet. The decision usually comes down to SSD or SSI for those that meet qualifications.

But what is the difference between SSI and SSD and can you have them both? Read on to learn what makes each option unique and who can benefit from them.

Understanding SSD

A person earns SSD benefits by working a job to pay taxes for social security via their income. They can seek employment from someone else or earn money through self-employment.

The person must have a disability that keeps them from working at full capacity or keeps them from doing their previous job. The disability must last for at least a year or result in the death of the person.

SSD qualification not only involves recent work but also the duration of work. A qualifying individual must have worked for five of the last 10 years if they’re older than 31.

Anyone that became disabled between the ages of 24 and 31 must have earned credits for work at least half of the time since age 21. If they became disabled before the age of 24, they must have worked a minimum of 1 1/2 years out of 3 years.

A person can earn up to 4 work credits annually. Credit qualifications change each year, but it’s typical for a person to earn all 4 credits with a part-time job.

The person’s age determines how many credits they need to receive benefits and that amount grows each year. Anyone that applies between the age of 21 and 27 only needs 6 credits, but a 50-year-old would need 28 credits.

Understanding SSI

A person with financial limitations that is over 65, disabled, or blind qualifies for SSI benefits. Anyone under the age of 18 that are blind or disabled can also receive SSI benefit but the qualifications vary.

It differs from SSD or Social Security benefits because people don’t need to pay anything for SSI. The granted benefits get financed through the general fund of the U.S. Treasury.

Certain states give people receiving SSI benefits instant approval for Medicaid benefits. Keep in mind that anyone living in Virginia has a different eligibility and application method for Medicaid.

Sometimes a person might have changes to their SSI benefits due to their spouse’s income because the program prioritizes needs. If a person’s spouse works full-time, the SSI disability amount might be lower or disqualify them altogether.

If interested, you can find out more on supplemental security income at the link.

Can You Use Both?

A person can possibly use SSD and SSI benefits at the same time. However, they must meet all eligibility requirements for both options.

To earn both SSI and SSD, a person typically hasn’t earned high wages or had full-time employment in several years. A “concurrent claim” is the way a disabled person applies for both types of benefits simultaneously.

First, the person’s SSD benefits get calculated along with the payment amount. That payment amount dictates if the person also fulfills the financial requirements to also receive SSI aid.

What Is the Difference Between SSI and SSD?

So, what is the difference between SSI and SSD? The main difference is SSI doesn’t require a person to work for their benefits. 

Remember the qualifications in this guide because it’s possible to receive both support options. Check out our site’s health and finance sections for more helpful tips and information.

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