Many people may hold, without even thinking about it, a stereotype that only older people may receive financial assistance from the Social Security Administration. This is not actually true. Many younger people may be disabled to the point where they qualify for benefits provided by the SSA. There are two different programs that manage the distribution of disability benefits and understanding the difference between them is important. You may qualify for benefits from one program only or, in select situations, from both programs at the same time. 

Both programs, Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, provide financial payments to people who meet the SSA’s definition of being disabled. This may include being blind. To receive SSD, a person must have paid into the system via their employment or via the employment of their spouse or parent. This is not required for SSI. Instead, SSI pays benefits to people who are disabled, blind or elderly and who meet low-income criteria. 

SSI is a federal program but includes some supplemental support from individual states. SSD, also referred to as Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI, does not have a corresponding state program. With SSI, a person may be eligible for health care insurance and treatment under the Medicaid program. With SSD, health care insurance coverage and treatment are provided via Medicare. 

If you would like to learn more about the difference between SSD and SSI and how you may be eligible to receive benefits from both of these programs at one time, please feel free to visit the disabled person’s guide to assistance page on our Ohio disability website.