The Social Security Administration offers two main financial assistance programs. Supplemental Security Income consists of financial help for low-income older adults and individuals who have disabilities. Social Security Disability Insurance provides financial benefits for disabled individuals with a qualifying work history regardless of age.

If you cannot work because of a disability, learn more about the differences between the SSI and SSDI assistance programs.

Eligibility

The eligibility qualifications for SSI require low income and either advanced age or disability. SSDI requires proof of disability and the accumulation of a certain number of work credits. This program does not consider age or income.

If you qualify for SSI, your benefits begin the first full month after you applied for the program. SSDI starts six months after the disability date confirmed by the SSA.

Available benefit amount

The average 2020 SSI amount is $783 per month for a single person and $1,175 for a couple. North Carolina SSI recipients may also qualify for state supplemental payments. SSDI benefits average about $1,200 per month per person, with a maximum benefit of just over $3,000 per month in 2020.

If you qualify for SSI or SSDI you automatically qualify for health insurance through Medicaid. However, SSI Medicaid coverage starts right away while SSDI coverage has a 24-month waiting period unless you have Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Your personal situation determines whether SSI or SSDI is right for you. Submitting complete medical records and detailed information to support your claim can improve your chances of receiving approval for benefits.