What is SSI / SSDI ?

The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. These two programs are different in many ways, the Social Security Administration administers both, and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):

  • It is designed to help aged, blind, and people with disabilities, who have little or no income; and
  • It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to individuals who have acquired a disability and are unable to do substantial work. SSDI benefits may be payable to certain family members as well. In order to qualify for SSDI, an individual must have paid Social Security taxes and earned enough work credits.

For more information on these two programs, visit www.ssa.gov.

This document is funded through a Social Security cooperative agreement. Although Social Security reviewed this document for accuracy, it does not constitute an official Social Security communication.