What’s the Difference Between Social Security and Supplemental Security Income?

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According to USA.gov, Social Security benefits provide individuals with a source of income after they retire. It is a program run by the federal government. In simple terms, a portion of the taxes you pay while working goes into a national trust fund that provides benefits to you after you retire.

It’s important to keep in mind that Social Security is designed to replace only a percentage of your pre-retirement income based on your lifetime earnings. According to the Social Security Administration, the portion of your pre-retirement wages that Social Security replaces is based on your highest 35 years of earnings and varies depending on how much you earn and when you choose to start receiving your benefits. Social Security benefits are paid to qualified retirees, the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died, as well as people with disabilities.

Social Security benefits are different than Supplemental Security Income (SSI). AARP discovered many people confuse the two programs because both provide benefits to older Americans and have similar sounding names. Although managed by the Social Security Administration, SSI is a benefit program that provides monthly payments to people who are at least 65 years old and have limited financial resources, as well as those who are blind or disabled. Its payments primarily come from the U.S. Treasury general revenues. Almost eight million people are currently receiving SSI benefits.

SSI also differs from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). That benefit program is part of the Social Security Administration. Eligibility for SSDI is determined by your condition and how long you worked and paid Social Security taxes. It is possible to receive benefits from both programs.

More than 64 million people are collecting Social Security benefits. That’s one out of every six U.S. residents. The Seniors Trust is working hard to ensure Social Security is here for Americans today and in the future. As a program of a grassroots nonprofit organization, we are focused on passing the Social Security Expansion Act to increase benefits by about $65 a month, implement a fair Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), and legally guarantee the current and future benefits of all Social Security recipients. You can help make that happen by signing our petition to Congress and telling lawmakers that it’s time to take action to shore up Social Security.