SSI vs SSDI: What’s the Difference and Why It Matters

SSI vs SSDI. Learn the difference between Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance in this simple guide.

Social Security Benefits Claim Form - SSI vs SSDI

The Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are Social Security Administration programs. They are run by the Federal United States Government and overseen by representatives in each state. 

Although SSDI and SSI sound similar, they are entirely different programs and serve different claimants. 

What Is SSI (Supplemental Security Income)?

SSI or Supplemental Security Income is “financial assistance” to an individual with a medical or physical disability with no age requirements other than being 18 years of age or older. 

You must have limited income and resources and report all income while on SSI benefits. Many states, although not all, also supplement your SSI benefits with a state benefit program. 

Most states also use SSI to give you eligibility for SNAP or other state or federally run benefit programs. 

Who Is Eligible for SSI?

You can qualify for SSI by blindness, age, disability, and your amount of income. 

A mentally or physically disabled person with medically determinable impairments that are both low income and low resource is eligible (specific amounts vary each year) for SSI. 

The resource amount for 2022 is a limit of 2,000 for individuals and 3,0000 for those married. There are exceptions to this rule, such as special needs trusts and planning for future medical or disability expenses in separate accounts.

In addition, if you are over the age of 65, you also become eligible for SSI benefits.

What Is SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance)?

SSDI or Social Security Disability Income is for people with a qualifying work history such as their work history, a spouse’s work history, or parental work history. 

Because the program is connected with work history, it serves mainly older folks due to the number of work credits needed. A person applying for SSDI benefits must also be mentally or physically disabled. 

Who Is Eligible for SSDI?

A person who is either blind or mentally or physically disabled with qualifying work credits. This means a qualified number amount months worked in the national economy. 

What Is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

The main difference between SSI and SSDI is the income requirements. 

SSI is intended for people with disabilities that are low income and have low resources or at the retirement age of 65. 

SSDI is intended for people with disabilities and a work history that “qualifies” them for the SSDI program. 

The other major difference is the health care coverage for SSI or SSDI benefits. When you receive SSI benefits, the majority of States will also grant you Medicaid benefits or health insurance benefits. However, with SSDI, you must wait 24 months or two years for your Medicare benefits to start unless your disability qualifies for an exception.

Also Read: How to Win a Social Security Disability Claim

SSI vs SSDI: Key Takeaways

  • SSI Benefits are for those who are aged, disabled, or have low income and resources. 
  • SSDI Benefits are for those disabled with a qualifying amount of work history credit, paid through their work history of paying FICA taxes. 
  • SSI beneficiaries will start to receive Medicaid benefits right away from the start of their benefits payments. In contrast, SSDI beneficiaries must wait 24 months for their Medicare benefits to begin unless their disability qualifies for an exception. 
  • SSI benefits start right away, from the first month you state you have a disability. SSDI benefits start 5-6 months after you first state you have a disability. 
  • SSI benefits are a means-tested program, and SSDI benefits are an eligibility-tested program based on your work history. For example, you “pay into” your benefits via paying your FICA taxes.

SSI vs SSDI Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about SSI and SSDI.

Can You Get SSI and SSDI?

In certain circumstances, when you have a low income and a work history, you can be eligible to receive both benefits. It is always best to speak to a qualified attorney to assist you in complicated situations to ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

How to Apply for SSI and SSDI?

You can apply for SSI benefits online only if you are an adult aged 18-65. For those not included in this age range, you must either apply by calling your local office or apply in person. 

You can apply online for SSDI benefits regardless of your circumstances. Of course, you can also go into the office if you want to apply in person.

If you are hesitant about which one to apply for, it is always best to speak to a qualified attorney who can assist you. An attorney can help you choose the appropriate program. They can also help you apply and ensure you get the maximum benefits you are entitled to based on your unique situation. 

Do I Need an Attorney to Apply for SSI and SSDI Benefits?

While it is possible to apply by yourself for both SSI and SSDI benefits, it is advisable to seek out legal representation. The attorneys at Evans Disability can improve your chance of being approved for SSI or SSDI benefits the first time. 

There are also many deadlines and documents you must submit when applying for either SSI or SSDI benefits. It is to your advantage to work with an attorney to ensure your application is completed correctly.

What Happens if My SSI or SSDI Application Is Rejected?

There are many avenues for appealing a rejection of an SSI or SSDI application. It depends on what stage of the process your application was rejected. You must read the rejection letter to see how many days you have to appeal the rejection so that you can take action.

It is always better to seek out an attorney, like Evans Disability. We will work with you to ensure you meet any legal obligations or deadlines when appealing a rejected application.

Also Read: How to Win a Social Security Disability Claim

Evans Disability Can Help You

If you are struggling with a disability and don’t know where to start, we encourage you to call us at 855-503-0101.

Our devoted team will help you every step of the way through the disability benefits application process. 

Additionally, you can call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visit your local office to apply for disability benefits.