SSDI vs. SSI: Which Type of Disability Benefit Should I Apply For

There are two main programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities – Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”).

Both of these programs are administered by the Social Security Administration. Both programs require a person to be disabled and to meet certain medical eligibility requirements.

However, Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured. ” This means that you have worked long enough and paid Social Security Taxes. Supplemental Security Income pays benefits strictly based on financial need either because you never worked, did not work long enough to earn sufficient credits, or your disability insurance credits expired.

What is SSDI?

An individual funds his or her social security disability insurance through payroll taxes earned while working. You generally remain insured for five (5) after leaving full time work. There are no income or asset requirements. Instead, you only needed to have earned enough credits while working to be eligible.

Individuals are eligible for Medicare two years after the date he or she is found to be disabled.

If awarded, there is a six month waiting period before SSDI benefits are paid.

What is SSI?

SSI is “means-tested.” This has nothing to do with your work history but instead looks at your financial need. You must meet SSI income requirements, typically have a very limited income and have few assets.

Many individuals who are eligible for SSI may also be eligible for Medicaid.

If awarded, there is no waiting period for SSI benefits. Your benefits begin the first of the month that you submitted your application.


Although not a comprehensive list, these are just a few of the similarities and differences between these two programs. If you have filed your Social Security Disability application, for either SSDI or SSI, and been denied, contact us now for a free initial consultation to see if your denial should be appealed.

By knworman

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Posted in: Social Security Disability

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