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History Behind Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income

Many people are under the misconception that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the same thing. Though they are both administered by the Social Security Administration, they are two different programs with funding originating in two different sources.

There are three different categories of benefits for Social Security: Disability benefits, retirement benefits, and survivors’ benefits. There are only two categories of benefits for SSI: Aged benefits and disability benefits.

The funding for Social Security comes from trust funds that come out of earmarks from Social Security payroll and FICA taxes. The funding for SSI comes from general taxes. The date of the establishment of both programs is different. The Social Security Act of 1935 established the Social Security program. Amendments to that act in 1972 created the Supplemental Security Income program.

Social Security is basically a social insurance program. A person cannot collect benefits from the program unless they have paid into it and earned a certain number of work credits. For the most part, 10 years in the workforce are required to qualify for Social Security.

If a claimant has not worked the necessary number of quarters he or she is not considered an "insured" under the Social Security law. If a claimant is "insured" for Social Security disability benefits, it does not matter how much property/assets he or she owns. Property owned by the beneficiary, including bank accounts, stocks, bonds and real estate will not prevent them from collecting Social Security benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based program, does take into account the resources a beneficiary has available to them. If a claimant owns more than the bare necessities of life over a certain amount determined by the government, they are not eligible for SSI. For instance if a claimant's wife is working and earns even a modest income, that income will very likely keep him from collecting SSI.

If a claimant is not "insured" for Social Security disability insurance and if they have too many assets, they cannot collect Social Security disability benefits from either Social Security program. Unfortunately, too many disabled North Carolina citizens are in this predicament.