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The difference between SSD benefits and SSI benefits

For disabled individuals throughout America, including in Los Angeles, the source of assistance that they receive is oftentimes not a major concern - as long as they get what they need to live. There is no doubt that millions of Americans depend on the monthly benefits they receive from Social Security, as anyone familiar with previous posts here probably knows by now. But there are two programs in particular that are often confused with each other: Social Security Disability and Supplement Security income. So, what is the difference between the two?

For starters, SSD benefits are paid out of a dedicated trust fund. That is not the case with SSI benefits, which are paid from general tax revenue. As a result, SSI benefits are oftentimes more of a target for politicians who want to cut government expenditures.

Next, some of the qualifying factors for each of these two programs are different. For instance, in order to be eligible to receive SSD benefits, an applicant must have been part of the workforce for a certain amount of time - paying into the program from which they expect to receive benefits. That is not the case with SSI benefits, which are available to those individuals who may be disabled but who are ineligible for SSD benefits. Disabled children, in particular, are eligible for SSI benefits, because they meet the Social Security Administration's requirements for being labeled as "disabled," and they fall below the income threshold that applies to SSI benefits.

Lastly, some states provide an extra bit of a payment to individuals who receive SSI benefits. This is known as a "state supplement." There is no such state supplement for individuals who receive SSD benefits.

Source: ssa.gov, "Comparison of the SSDI and SSI Disability Programs," Accessed Nov. 10, 2014

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