Many people in Tennessee are confused about the differences between the Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Income and Social Security retirement benefits programs. Each of these separate programs is designed to help different populations of people. While Social Security retirement benefits are available to people who have reached the retirement age and have built up sufficient credits, the SSI and SSDI programs are available for people who are disabled and unable to work. These three programs each have their own eligibility guidelines to receive benefits.
Supplemental Security Income
The SSI program is a needs-based benefits program that offers monthly payments to people who are disabled and/or blind. People do not have to have built up a certain number of work credits in order to receive these benefits, but they must be unable to work, have a qualifying disabling condition and meet certain financial guidelines. The benefits that are available through SSI are meant to provide enough money to pay for the recipient’s basic needs for shelter, clothing, and food.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Unlike SSI, people have to meet certain work guidelines to qualify for SSDI. They must have worked for a certain amount of time within the last five years and have built up enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. In addition, they must also have qualifying disabilities which are expected to last at least 12 months and that prevent them from being able to complete any substantial gainful activity. When someone is approved for SSDI, he or she will normally continue to receive benefits until he or she is able to return to work. A portion of the amount that people pay into the Social Security system through payroll deductions goes to pay for this program.
When most people hear the term “Social Security,” they think about the monthly benefits that people receive after they reach a certain age. The earliest that people can receive retirement benefits is at age 62, but the amounts are reduced if they are taken this early. The full retirement benefits age is currently set at age 66 years and two months. It is set to rise to age 67 for people who were born in 1960 or later. Recipients may draw their full benefits unless they took early retirement.