What Is the Difference Between SSI & Social Security Benefits?

by Trudy Brunot ; Updated July 27, 2017
SSI and Social Security recipients have different reporting requirements.

Name similarity can create confusion between Supplemental Security Income and Social Security. The Social Security Administration administers them both, and the U.S. Treasury Department issues monthly payments to their beneficiaries. Taxes fund both programs. However, SSI offers need-based financial support to blind or disabled adults and children, and those 65 or older, while Social Security provides income to retirees and eligible dependents based on employment earnings.

Recipient Criteria

SSI recipients must meet income and asset ownership limits, be at least 65 and meet U.S. residency requirements or hold U.S. citizenship. Disabled or blind adults and children who meet the SSA's impairment standards also can qualify for SSI. Social Security recipients, however, must have paid Social Security taxes or be the dependent of a worker who paid them. People can get SSI and Social Security if they meet eligibility requirements for both programs.

Dependents and Social Security

One key difference between the two programs is how dependents are treated. Dependents may be eligible to collect Social Security after monthly benefits begin. Family members can receive a combined total equaling 150 to 180 percent of your Social Security benefit after you die. Child eligibility extends to age 18 unless the child is a student, in which case benefits continue until he graduates, or becomes disabled before age 22. Ex-spouses also may qualify two years after the divorce, provided the marriage lasted 10 years and they are at least 62.

SSI Dependent Financial Assistance

Unlike Social Security, SSI benefits do not extend to dependents upon the recipient's death. However, a disabled or blind child whose parent has limited resources and income may qualify for SSI. Children under 18 who have an SSA-defined physical or mental disability and do not earn more than the annual amount set by SSA, may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. Upon reaching age 18, children must have their income, resources and continued disability status reevaluated to remain SSI eligible.

Monthly Social Security Payments

Three factors determine a retiree's monthly Social Security benefit: • retirement age • lifetime career earnings • money earned prior to reaching full retirement age.

SSA sets an annual earnings limit and deducts $1 from your Social Security payment for each $2 you make when you retire early. It also reduces your payment by $1 for every $3 you earn during the year you reach full retirement age. According to the SSA, benefits equal approximately 40 percent of pre-retirement earnings. Those unable to work due to a disability and meet the SSA's strict definition of a disabling condition can receive Social Security payments based on their lifetime earnings, although any other financial assistance received from other governmental agencies reduces their monthly benefit.

SSI Monthly Benefit

The Social Security Administration bases your SSI monthly benefit on the federal benefit rate that can change year to year to allow for cost of living increases. The amount you receive depends on your marital status, if you pay for housing or live rent-free, any state supplements you get and other income you have. Not all income reduces your SSI benefit. For example, tax refunds and wages spent by the disabled or blind on transportation in order to work do not count as income for SSI.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by


About the Author

Trudy Brunot began writing in 1992. Her work has appeared in "Quarterly," "Pennsylvania Health & You," "Constructor" and the "Tribune-Review" newspaper. Her domestic and international experience includes human resources, advertising, marketing, product and retail management positions. She holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of South Carolina.

Photo Credits

  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Cite this Article | raiffeisen-cards.ru A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

Related pages

barrow bondsis certified check same as cashiers checkri ssdiev ebitda industry averageswhere to get copy of property deedexperian live person customer serviceebates how it worksclaim of exemption form for wage garnishmentwhere to buy diabetic needlescuny debit cardbird dog referralcost for craigslist adsection 8 housing fulton county gahow to report per diem on taxesunderpayment tax penaltysps short sale departmentordinary dividends and qualified dividendsregions bank chexsystemscheck transitchek balancedun and bradstreet canadawhat is a co signer for an apartmentaladdin bail bonds paymentwhat is account payee chequeapply kohls charge401k no beneficiaryfixed asset capitalization ruleswhat is the difference between qualified and ordinary dividendsparable of the faithful servantprepaid visa with paypalstudent loan guarantorwhat is an absolute auctiondirect deposit into google walletapplying for medicaid texaspropane versus natural gasif you get severance can you collect unemploymentwww vanillavisa comencumbering propertyutah horizon card balancereal estate agent tax deductionsordinary dividends vs qualified dividendswood stoves vs pellet stovescause of stock market crash 1929indiana eviction lawsirs efile vs turbotaxhow much does an acl surgery costwarranty deed vs deed of trustveneer insurancestatute of limitations for medical billscommuting miles deductionstocks that pay monthly dividendsgrants for convicted felons in floridass payeehow to qualify for medicaid in ncplasma donation pricepractice fafsa formnetspend western unionletter of intent examples graduate schoolghr side effectsdjia chart yahoo401k tax formways to have student loan forgiventhe amount of a promissory note is called therenew medicaid texastax on trust distributions to beneficiariesscholarships for students with dyslexiaadp balance checkcoop house insurancefree paralegal classesprepaid credit card with paypalhow do i write a promissory notege capital retail bank credit cardswhat does a 1099 c form meanlongest home loan termcan you claim depreciation on your cardividends versus capital gainswhat is flexible spending credit cardmichigan state refund statuswithholding rent from landlordco signer for auto loanhow to piggyback creditcar insurance coverage explanationcar loan apr based on credit score