Like Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) exists to provide income and other benefits to people who meet certain program requirements — but SSI is not the same as SSD.
Here’s what you need to know:
- SSI benefits, unlike SSD, have no work history requirement. Instead, you qualify for SSI by being blind, disabled or over 65 years of age and having income and resources that are below whatever threshold is currently determined by law. That makes it possible for children and young people who became disabled early to qualify for a disability benefit despite the lack of work history.
- You file for SSI the same way that you file for SSD benefits. In most cases, the Social Security Administration will automatically screen disability applicants for technical eligibility for both the SSD and SSI programs when they file.
- It may be possible to combine SSI with other benefits. Sometimes, someone can qualify for a small amount of SSD and receive additional money from SSI. Entitlement to SSI can also qualify you for your state Medicaid program, which can be important when it comes to meeting your needs for medical care.
It’s important to understand that even if you meet the technical requirements for SSI, anyone who is applying based on blindness or another disability must go through the same disability determination process that is used to make decisions on SSD claims. Since the process is both involved and lengthy, it’s often wisest to get experienced legal assistance with your claim.
Our website has more information on SSI and why it’s such an important protection for people with limited means.