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Difference between SSI and Social Security benefits

Though they may sound similar, SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Social Security are two distinct programs with different eligibility requirements.

What Is SSI?

SSI is a federal income supplement program that provides financial support to individuals with limited incomes and resources who are elderly, blind, or disabled. SSI benefits are paid out of general tax revenues and funded by the U.S. Treasury, not Social Security taxes.

What Is Social Security?

Social Security is a retirement benefit program funded through payroll taxes (FICA) taken from employee paychecks. In addition to providing monthly payments to retired persons, it also provides disability benefits and death benefits to qualified beneficiaries.

SSI Eligibility

SSI is much more stringent when it comes to eligibility criteria than Social Security; SSI requires a person to have little in the way of both income and resources while Social Security does not impose such restrictions on its applicants as SSI does. SSI is also needs-based, which means applicants must demonstrate financial need in order to receive benefits.

SS: Payment-Based System

Social Security benefits are based on the amount of money a person has paid into the Social Security system over their lifetime through payroll taxes rather than on the applicant’s financial need.

SSI beneficiaries can receive additional assistance from state and local governments depending on where they live, while this is not available to individuals receiving Social Security benefits. SSI is generally used as a last resort for those who cannot qualify for other forms of support.

Overall, SSI and Social Security differ greatly in terms of eligibility requirements and rules for qualification. SSI is designed for those who have limited incomes and resources with an emphasis on financial need, whereas Social Security is designed to provide a retirement benefit for those who have paid into the system over the course of their lifetime.

Therefore, SSI and Social Security should not be confused as they are two distinct programs with different eligibility requirements.

Need Help With Supplemental Security Income?

If you or a family member is seeking SSI benefits and need assistance, Walton Law PLLC can help. Our experienced SSI attorneys in Atlanta will guide you through the SSI application process to maximize your chances of success. Contact us today for a free consultation.