Understanding the Difference Between SSDI and SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have a lot in common. Both programs are intended to help people with disabilities, and both are administered through the Social Security Administration (SSA). And yet, there are a few key differences between the programs, which affect who is eligible and how much beneficiaries of those programs can receive.

What SSDI and SSI Have in Common

    Before it is possible to understand what makes these programs different, it is important to understand what makes them similar.

  • Both SSDI and SSI require applicants to be disabled, to the extent that they are no longer able to work.
  • Both SSDI and SSI require applicants to submit to medical evaluation by Disability Determination Services (DDS) to determine the nature and extent of their disability.
  • Both SSDI and SSI have a mandatory five-month waiting period between applying for disability benefits and receiving them, except in limited exceptional circumstances.
  • Both SSDI and SSI recipients can be disqualified if they make more than a certain amount of income per month.

Explaining What Makes SSDI Different

Meanwhile, when it comes to SSDI, there are a few essential things you need to know before you can apply for SSDI benefits:

  • To qualify for SSDI, you must first earn a certain number of “work credits” by working and paying Social Security taxes.
  • Adults over the age of thirty need 40 work credits, 20 of which need to come from the past ten years.
  • You can earn one work credit per fiscal quarter, or up to four work credits per year.
  • Younger workers can get SSDI benefits with fewer work credits, depending on their age.

Explaining What Makes SSI Different

And then there is SSI, which has far stricter income requirements for potential benefit recipients:

  • Qualifying for SSI requires that you fall under a certain income threshold, which amounts to $814 per month for individuals, or $1,211 per month for married couples.
  • Not all types of income count towards the income threshold, and you may make significantly more than the legal limit and still qualify for SSI benefits.
  • Regardless of your disability status, you can lose access to SSI benefits if your income ever goes above the legal threshold.

Regardless of what type of benefits you apply for, you can still benefit from having the assistance of a lawyer. They can help you with your application, and guide you through any legal complications that may arise. But before they can help, you first need to make a call.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.


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