Difference Between SSI and SSDI

While SSI and SSDI are very similar, there is one distinguishing difference between the two. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to those who work and have reached a certain number of work credits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available to low-income individuals that have not reached enough work credits or have never worked. Many people seem to think that both programs are one in the same. They are actually two different government run programs. Both programs are, however, run by the Social Security Administration and the eligibility due to medical disability is determined in the same way.


Supplemental Security Income is based on need and eligibility is determined according to income and assets. The funds for this program come from general taxes rather than the Social Security trust fund. This program is also not based on work history but, is based strictly on financial need. In order to meet the requirements for the program, you have to have less than $2000 in assets for a single person, $3000 for a couple, and a very limited income.

If someone who is disabled, qualifies for SSI, they can still receive other government benefits such as Medicaid and food stamp benefits. Upon approval, you can expect your SSI benefits to begin the first of the following month after your approval.


Social Security Disability Insurance gets funding strictly through payroll taxes. After working for a certain number of years, and contributing tax money to a social security fund, those who qualify for benefits are considered insured. Anyone wish to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits must be younger than the age of 65 and have worked in the past in order to accumulate enough work credits.

One of the added benefits of SSDI is that the spouse and children of a person approved for these benefits, can also receive benefits of their own. These benefits will be partial and are known as auxiliary benefits.

If you are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you can expect to wait five months after approval to begin receiving your benefits. There is not a set standard for the amount you will receive, it will depend on your work record.

While the application and approval process can be quite lengthy and time consuming, should you find yourself in a situation where you have become disabled, these benefits could indeed be of great benefit to you.

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