Comparing SSI and SSDI Benefits

By Disability Group

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to disabled individuals under 2 programs: 


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and


Supplemental Security Income (SSI)


  To qualify for either  program your condition must be terminal, or prevent you from working for 1 year or more. 


  SSDI is like insurance you have paid into during your past employment. For SSDI you must have earned work credits.  This requirement is generally met if you have worked at least 5 out of the past 10 years.  You also must be a legal resident of the U.S., and below retirement age.  Ask your lawyer if you qualify.   


For SSI you must not make more than $674 per month ($1011 for a couple).  Certain states increase these amounts.  You also can not have more than $2000 in resources ($3000 for a couple).  Certain resources, like your home and car, are not counted.  You must be a U.S. citizen (with limited exceptions), but any age may apply. 


            SSDI comes with Medicare.  SSI comes with Medicaid (or MediCal in California).  There is a 2 year waiting period from SSDI award for your Medicare to start, but Medicaid starts right when you get SSI.  SSDI also provides benefits to certain family members, while SSI does not.


            It is possible to get benefits under both programs, so apply for both when filing a disability claim with the SSA.  Ask your lawyer or the SSA to see if you qualify.