Many people believe that SSI is the same thing as Social Security benefits. The two are related, but are not the same thing.
Both Social Security benefits and SSI benefits are administered by the same agency, namely, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”).
Social Security benefits are paid when a worker retires or, if the worker is under 66 years old, when he or she becomes disabled.
SSI, which stands for Supplemental Security Income, also provides both retirement and disability income, but has different financial requirements from Social Security.
To qualify for Social Security a person must 1. be of retirement age or disabled, AND 2, must have paid in enough to Social Security over the years to be covered.
To qualify for SSI, a person must 1. be of retirement age or disabled, AND 2. must have very limited assets and income.
A person who is a millionaire may qualify for Social Security benefits.
A person must be in poor financial condition to qualify for SSI.
There are people who financially qualify for one of the programs, but not the other. Some people financially qualify for both programs.
Some people may qualify for Social Security benefits because of their spouse’s earnings, and some minors may qualify because their parent, who paid into Social Security, retired, became disabled or died. These people get benefits because they are the survivors or dependents of someone who paid into Social Security.
There are no survivor’s or dependent’s benefits for people related to someone receiving SSI.