What is the difference between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI)?
Types of Disability Benefits:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI). While both programs are designed for disabled individuals, their eligibility requirements and benefits differ.
The Differences between programs:
The most significant difference between the two disability benefits programs is how their eligibility is determined. Specifically, SSI is a needs-based program. To qualify for SSI benefits, your income and resources must be limited and/or below a certain amount. You are eligible for SSI regardless of whether or not you worked and paid into the Social Security system. Some examples of individuals who have not paid into the system may be children, stay-at-home parents, and people who have not had Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
On the other hand, RSDI is based on your (or other qualified wage earner’s) work record, similar to Social Security retirement benefits. To qualify, you need to have worked for a minimum amount of time depending on your age when you became disabled, and your benefit amount can be higher or lower depending on your income history and work duration. For example, someone who has worked many years and paid Social Security taxes will generally have a higher monthly benefit amount than someone who has worked less and paid in less.
Social Security will not consider the issue of disability unless you have first established non-medical eligibility for at least one of the programs.
Disability Representative, EDPNA