What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
To easily explain this type of benefit, think of an insurance policy that supplements your income if you are disabled or retired. Each working citizen in the United States pays for their own Social Security policy by a special social security tax on earned income. You are generally entitled to this benefit when you reach full retirement age (currently 67 for those born in 1960 or later) or if you are able to prove you are medically disabled beforehand.
Monthly entitlement amounts depend on your lifetime earnings as reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The more you earn and pay into the system, the larger your monthly payment is. Generally speaking, if you are found eligible for DIB benefits, a spouse and dependent children may increase this amount. Usually, if you are awarded DIB benefits, you are also entitled to Medicare insurance, although restrictions apply to a spouse and dependent children.
Supplemental Security Income is fundamentally different because it is not an insurance policy. This type of benefit is considered "need-based" and depends on your household income. Limits on income fluctuate depending on different types of earned or unearned income and the number of dependent children who live in the household.
Generally to qualify for this type of benefit, you must prove you are medically disabled. The current maximum SSI monthly payment is $733. This amount may be reduced if you are not paying some living expenses, such as rent, or if you are receiving other forms of income. Usually, if you are awarded SSI benefits, you will also be entitled to Medicaid insurance.