The Social Security Administration administers two programs through which it provides financial benefits to disabled people who qualify for them. Although the two programs, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, sound similar, in reality they pay benefits to different classes of people and it is important for New York residents to understand the main difference between the two.

SSDI benefits are an earned benefit, which means that it is tied to a person’s job. It focuses on physical and mental impairments that will last for at least 12 months, or result in death, and are so severe that they prevent people from engaging in the occupations they would normally have engaged in. They can be paid to disabled workers, and their children and widows and widowers. These benefits are available to workers who have worked long enough to accumulate “credit” and paid Social Security taxes.

SSI benefits, on the other hand, are for low-income people who are aged 65 or older, are adults who are disabled or blind, or children who are disabled or blind. It is not tied to employment, but rather to income-these individuals have either never worked or not worked long enough to qualify for the credits necessary for SSDI.

When New York residents have suffered an injury that has left them unable to work, they may be able to file for SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration will collect medical information about the applicant and other information that would help them determine if the applicant fulfills the requirements of an eligible disability.