Although there are several disability benefits, there are only two that are administered by the Social Security Administration: SSI and SSDI. As there are many who confuse the two, SSI and SSDI are substantially different. Here is an explanation of the two of them:


SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. It is a program designed to help those who can’t work and have limited resources available. The program focusses on your assets. To be eligible for SSI benefits, your assets cannot exceed $2000 if you are single. If you are married, your combined assets cannot exceed $3000.  The Social Security Administration looks at your bank accounts, investments, and property to determine the value of your assets. The SSA makes exceptions. Your house, the land it is on, household goods, one car, and personal effects such as a wedding ring are not considered your asset valuation. If your assets exceed the monetary gap, you cannot qualify for benefits.


SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Income. It is a Social Security based program that does not focus on your assets, but on how much you have paid into the system throughout your working life. The amount of benefits you receive are dependent upon how much money you have contributed over the years. Funding for SSDI comes from every working American. If you glance at your last pay stub, you will notice that there separate withholdings from FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). These withholdings fund Social Security disability and retirement benefits. Disability benefits were designed to provide cash and medical assistance for people unable to work during their pre-retirement years due to physical and mental disability.

Obtaining Social Security benefits is challenging. Fortunately there are resources to help you. Understand the Social Security process by speaking with an experienced disability lawyer, or by receiving a free copy of The Utah Social Security Disability Handbook.

Image courtesy of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The image is in the public domain.