Difference Between SSI and SSDI in Social Security

You may have heard in general about Social Security Administration (SSA) disability programs, but may be asking yourself what is the difference between SSI and SSDI in Social Security.


The two programs are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The difference between SSI and SSDI is that SSI is designed to supplement low-income or no-income individuals and families, and SSDI is a disability program for people with a demonstrated work history but are now disabled.


SSI is a federal program paid from general tax revenues and not from the SSA program. It is designed to the very low income disabled and elderly with funds to provide food, clothing and shelter.


SSI is a needs-based program and has very low income requirements in order to qualify. SSA will count any free services you are receiving, such as food or shelter, as income, and there are strict limitations on asset ownership. You are allowed to own a home and single automobile, and there are a few other set-asides as well.


People aged 18 or over with a terminal or long-lasting medical condition may qualify for SSDI benefits. The key is that your disability must be severe enough to keep you from working.


For both programs, most states provide an additional supplement above and beyond the federal amount. Several states–Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia—do not provide a state supplement.


The SSA requires information such as Social Security number (SSN), date and place of birth, and proof of US citizenship. The same information must be provided for spouses and children if you are applying for benefits on their behalf.


SSDI requires detailed medical information such as diagnosis, test records, hospitalization records, medication history, and other detailed medical notes. It also requires income history, including previous employers and the amount you earned at each. For both programs, SSA will need to know about any other benefits you might be receiving, such as worker’s compensation or military veteran benefits.


If you think you might qualify for one of these benefit programs, but you’re having difficulty telling the difference between SSI and SSDI in Social Security, give us a call today and we will help you determine your eligibility.