What Is The Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

1 mins reading time

Both programs are for people who are disabled, and both have a similar process for determining who is considered disabled.

Beyond that, there are several important differences between the two programs:

  • To get SSDI benefits, you must have worked in a job or jobs where you paid Social Security taxes, and that work must be recent and long enough (according to a Social Security Administration formula) for you to be considered “insured.” There is no such requirement to receive SSI benefits. You can receive SSI benefits even if you have never worked in a job covered by Social Security or if you not done so recently.
  • The SSI program is only for people who have low income and have resources. SSDI does not have this requirement.
  • The SSDI program pays benefits to disabled adults and, in some cases, their family members. The SSI program pays benefits to disabled children as well as disabled adults.
  • SSI benefits are based on financial need. SSDI benefits are based on your lifetime income from jobs covered by Social Security.
  • To be eligible for SSI benefits, your income from all sources must be low. For SSDI, there are limits on how much you can be earning from work, but there are no limits to income that you receive from non-work sources, such as from investments.
  • People with low income who are over 65 may be eligible for SSI even if they are not disabled. In SSDI, only people who are disabled (and, sometimes, their family members) are eligible for benefits.

Terry Katz, Esq.

Founder of Terry Katz & Associates, a Long Island law firm specializing in workers’ compensation and social security disability for over twenty-five years.

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