What’s the Difference Between SSI & SSDI?

The big difference between SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability) is that SSDI is meant for workers who have built up enough work credits and SSI is for low-income people who don’t have enough work credits for SSDI or have never worked. While a lot of people don’t distinguish between SSDI and SSI, they are actually two very different government programs. Despite both of these programs being managed and overseen by the Social Security Administration and determining medical eligibility in the same way, each program is a distinct entity.

What Is SSDI?

Payroll taxes are used to fund Social Security Disability benefits. Beneficiaries have worked enough years to contribute to the Social Security trust fund through FICA taxes. It is only available to individuals under 65 years of age who have earned over a specific number of work credits. Once on SSDI for at least two years, disabled individuals are eligible for Medicare. Disabled persons with SSDI benefits can pass auxiliary partial benefits on to their dependents over 18 years of age.

The SSA has a waiting period of five months for benefits after an individual becomes disabled where they cannot collect. Your benefit amount after the waiting period ends depends on how much you earned while working, just like Social Security retirement benefits.

SSDI approval rates are higher than those for SSI. This may be because SSDI applicants have a higher income and are more likely to have insurance to see a doctor for their medical issues than those applying for SSI. Another reason is claims examiners and judges give more credibility to applicants with a long work history, which is rare in SSI applicants.

What Is SSI?

 The Supplemental Security Income program is funded by a general tax, not the Social Security trust fund, and is based strictly on need, according to assets and income. It is a means-based program, meaning it’s only given to those with financial need and has nothing to do with work history. In order to meet the requirements, you must own less than $3,000 in assets as a couple or less than $2,000 as an individual, as well as have very little in the way of income.

If you’re found to be disabled and meet the income requirements for SSI, you are also eligible to receive Medicaid in your state. The amount of benefits you receive are dependent on the amount of monthly income you had and where you live, and most people who qualify for SSI can also get food stamps. Unlike SSDI, there is no five-month waiting period for SSI benefits. They will start on the first of the month in which you filed your application.

If you’re facing a disability and are having trouble getting approved for SSDI or SSI benefits, contact the Disability Help Center San Diego today. We can help you build a case to receive the benefits you need. Call us at (702)786-0460 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.