Supplemental Security Income
benefits, usually called by the abbreviation "SSI"
are paid to disabled persons who have low income and
minimal assets and who have not worked long enough to
qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
SSI benefits are also called "Title
XVI" or "Title 16" benefits because that is
the section of the federal law that provides for the
Social Security Disability
benefits are abbreviated as "SSD" or "SSDI"
and are called "Title II" or "Title 2"
The rules for proving
disability are the same for both SSI and SSD. When a
person applies to Social Security for disability benefits,
the government usually checks to see if a person qualifies
for both SSI and SSD.
The main difference between
SSD and SSI is that a person needs to have worked long
enough to qualify for SSD. A person usually needs to
have worked for 5 of the last 10 years before becoming
disabled to get SSD.
To qualify for SSI, a person
generally cannot have more than $2000 in assets (or $3000
Because of these rules for
qualifying for SSD and SSI, a person, even if disabled,
may not be able to get either SSD or SSI if he or she has
not worked long enough but has too much in assets.
As of 2007, the maximum amount
a person can get in monthly SSI benefits is $623.
This monthly amount is reduced if the person has other
A disabled person may qualify
for both SSD and SSI if (1) he or she has worked enough to
qualify for SSD and (2) his or her assets are below the
$2000 (or $3000 if married) level for SSI. If the
person's SSD benefit is less than the SSI maximum of $623,
he or she will get both monthly SSI and SSD
payments. (For example, $500 in SSD and $123 in SSI).
If the SSD benefit is more than the SSI maximum, then only
the SSD benefit will be paid.
SSI benefits can only be paid
as of the date that the person filed for the
benefits. SSD benefits can be paid for up to 1 year
before the filing date.
SSD benefits are not paid for
the first 5 months that a person is disabled. There
is no waiting period for SSI.
A person who has been
receiving SSD benefits for 2 years can get Medicare.
Persons who receive SSI usually qualify for Medicaid.
The following table sets forth
the differences between SSD and SSI.
Differences Between SSD and SSI
Also called SSD, SSDI, Title II, Title 2
Also called SSI, Title XVI, Title 16
Must have worked to qualify (5 of 10
No work history required
No limit on assets
$2000 asset limit ($3000 if married)
Benefits can be paid as of 1 year before
Benefits can only be paid as of the
No benefits paid for 1st 5 months of
No waiting period
Can get Medicare after 2 years of
Can get Medicaid
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