What’s the Difference Between SSI & SSDI? Which one do I need?

By: Disability Group

When applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration there are two programs which you can apply for, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Both programs require that you meet Social Security’s definition of disabled, however the technical requirements and benefits for each program differ.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a needs based program for disabled individuals with little to no income or resources. In order to qualify for SSI you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be disabled (as defined by the Social Security Administration),
  2. Be a legal resident of the US and authorized to work in the US or be a US Citizen,
  3. Have limited income, and
  4. Have limited resources ($2000 max for an individual, $3000 max for a couple).

Children under that age of 18 can also qualify for benefits if they meet the above requirements. However, with children they look at the household income and resources (not just the child’s).

When awarded SSI you will receive a set monthly payment plus Medicaid. You may also receive a lump sum payment to cover the retroactive benefits from the time you filed your application to the date awarded.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is an insurance type program that you must have paid into to be eligible for. In order to qualify for SSDI you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be disabled (as defined by the Social Security Administration), and
  2. Have earned enough work credits (the number of work credits required varies depending upon your age. The work credits must also be recent. Generally if you worked 5 of the last 10 years at a full time job and you were paying into Social Security you will have enough recent credits).

When awarded SSDI you will receive a monthly payment based upon how much you paid in and Medicare, which kicks in two years after payments first start. You may also receive a lump sum payment to cover the retroactive benefits from up to one year prior to when you filed your application to the date awarded.

Which to Apply For

Using the above information, determine which program you believe applies to you. If you think you may qualify for both programs, than you can apply for both.

For additional information or to file an application contact the Social Security Administration or an experienced Disability Law Firm. 

Share