Knowledge is the best remedy.

How is SSI different from Social Security? 

Social Security benefits are paid from the Social Security Trust Fund. Someone in the family needs to have worked long enough  and paid Social Security taxes so that he/she or a family member could receive benefits.  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is financed by general funds of the U.S. Treasury. It is an assistance program for individuals with little or no income or resources.

 Social Security provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to workers and their families. SSI does not provide benefits to family members unless they are blind, disabled or aged  and have little or no income and/or resources.

Social Security benefits are calculated using the worker’s wages. The higher the wages, the larger the benefit. SSI amounts are determined according to a person’s living arrangement.

Social Security disability beneficiaries and those who reach 65 years old are eligible for Medicare coverage. SSI recipients in most states are covered by Medicaid.

Social Security is paid on the second, third or fourth Wednesday depending on one’s date of birth. SSI benefits are paid on the first of the month.

Social Security is payable outside of the United States. SSI cannot be received outside the United States.  


Can the parents of a child diagnosed with autism file for SSI in his/her behalf?

 Parents can apply for a child with disabilities at any time but until the child is 18 years old, the parents’ income and resources are considered to be the child’s if he/she is living with them. This is called deeming.

 Once a child turns 18, can he/she continue to receive benefits if they are a college student? 

Social Security benefits are paid to minor children until age 18 or 19 if still in high school if one of the parents is receiving retirement or disability benefits or passed away and paid Social Security taxes prior to their death.  There is no determination of disability under age 18. One month prior to their 18th birthday, the parents of a child with disabilities should contact SSA to file for Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits under the parent on whose record the child was receiving Social Security. If it is determined that the disabled adult child  (DAC) has a disability which began before age 22 and this will keep them from working, they may continue receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for as long as they are disabled and do not marry.     

SSI recipients at age 18 have their cases reviewed medically to determine if they meet adult disability standards. If they do, their SSI checks continue. If they don’t meet adult disability standards, their SSI checks will stop.   

 What is the meaning of SSDI? 

SSDI refers to Social Security Disability Insurance and refers to any benefit from the Social Security Trust Fund paid  to a person  because of his/her disability

Does work affect a young person’s eligibility for SSI or SSDI?

 SSI and SSDI have different rules concerning beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work. Please go to and type in Red Book. This valuable resource contains a summary of employment supports for SSDI and SSI beneficiaries who want to work.  Their phone number is 1-800-772-1213.