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Supplemental Security Income And Social Security Disability: Differences And Similarities

Most of our blog posts are about Social Security Disability (SSD). However, there is another government disability program, called Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is designed for people who have not worked much or who have never been able to work.

Difference Between The Two Programs: Finances

Because it is supposed to help the poor and needy, the SSI program only awards benefits to those whose income and assets are less than a certain amount. They look at earned income - from a job - and unearned income - from pensions, interest, and benefits from other programs. They also look at things that can be turned into cash to purchase food, clothing and housing. They look at the income of your husband or wife and any other support you receive, such as free rent. However, they do not usually count food stamps as income.

Moreover, SSI does not include your home or your car in the resource category (if you use your car for doctor visits). However, if you have other assets of more than $2,000, you will probably not be eligible for SSI benefits.

Similarity Between The Two Programs: Disability

Although SSI differs from SSD in how it uses income and assets to determine financial eligibility, there is no difference in how it assesses eligibility based on your condition and inability to work. If you are disabled according to SSD, you are disabled according to SSI and vice versa. The two programs use the same definitions of disability to decide whether you meet the medical criteria for eligibility and cannot engage in what the Social Security Administration calls "Substantial Gainful Activity."

If you have questions about your application for Supplemental Security Income or how it differs from Social Security Disability, you can do what many others have done: Call Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security disability advocates. They can advise you and guide you through the application and claim process.

Source: Just Health, "What is limited income for SSI?"; Charles Binder, Social Security Disability and You: A Guide to Winning the Benefits You Deserve, 2012.

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