Q: What is the difference between Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability?
A: Social Security administers two major programs that pay disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments are based on your work and earnings, while SSI disability payments are based on financial need.
Both disability programs require that you have a severe medical impairment — or combination of impairments — that prevents you from working for at least a year or is expected to result in death.
Social Security taxes are paid by workers, employers and self-employed persons. These taxes fund disability benefits under SSDI.
To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, you must earn enough credits to be insured. We pay disability benefits to blind or disabled workers, widow(er)s, or adults disabled since childhood who are otherwise eligible. We base monthly disability benefits on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.
SSI is a program financed through general revenues, not Social Security taxes.
We pay SSI disability benefits to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements and are otherwise eligible.
For more information, go online to www.socialsecurity.gov.
Are benefits taxable?
Q: Are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits taxable?
A: No, SSI payments are not subject to federal taxes. We will not send you an annual form SSA-1099 to report your benefits to the Internal Revenue Service.
However, Social Security beneficiaries may have to pay income tax.
If so, you may ask Social Security to withhold your federal taxes from your Social Security benefit payments.
For more information, log on to www.socialsecurity.gov.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.