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How do SSI and SSDI benefits differ?

As a disabled Mississippi resident who has a disability so severe that you are unable to make a living because of it, you may be thinking about trying to obtain benefits assistance from the U.S. Social Security Administration. You may, too, have heard that there are two different types of benefits that may, depending on circumstances, be available to you, but you may be less informed about how they differ and which type might better serve your needs.

According to the National Council on Aging, the two most common benefits programs that help Americans with disabilities are Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. SSI benefits seek to help Americans who have severe disabilities, but low income levels, get by in the absence of working.

SSDI benefits, meanwhile, also seek to help the nation’s most disabled Americans get by without working, but they are only available to those who have enough of a work history in a Social Security-covered position. Thus, arguably the most important distinction between the two types of benefits is that disability and income level determines SSI benefits eligibility, while disability and work history determines SSDI benefits eligibility.

It is also worth noting that qualifying for one form of benefits assistance does not necessarily disqualify you from receiving the other. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements that are in place for both types, you may be able to receive them simultaneously.

This copy is meant for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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