SSDI or SSI? 5 Huge Differences You Need to Know

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SSI vs SSDI

Learn More About SSDI Cases W/ Video

Common Questions Asked About SSDI & SSI

If you’re in a situation where you may need social security disability benefits, you may be thinking of applying for SSDI or SSI. But do you know what the difference, SSI vs. SSDI? However, when it comes to SSDI vs. SSI, these are both forms of financial assistance. So why do you need to choose between SSDI vs. SSI? 

What is the real difference between SSI and SSDI? Is there any? Do you get two different forms of social security disability benefits? How do you start the process? We’ll answer some of these questions in this newest post. 

Let’s Begin.

Breakdown of SSDI Vs. SSI

First, let’s look at SSDI vs. SSI. Why are there two different types of social security disability benefits available?

SSDI

When it comes to SSDI vs. SSI, the first thing we look at are the names. First, SSDI stands for social security disability insurance. For instance, these are specific social security disability benefits for those that can no longer work due to an injury and require social security disability for financial assistance.

SSI

SSI stands for supplemental security income. First, it is possible to receive social security disability benefits from SSI as well. However, social security disability benefits are not the only way for people to qualify for SSI.

The Five Differences

Though both SSI and SSDI can provide social security disability benefits, the major differences are:

SSDI or SSI
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1. First, SSDI requires the applicant to have a previous working history.

Social security disability benefits are only applicable to people who can prove that they have been part of the workforce for a certain amount of time. For example, the more years a person has worked, the more social security disability benefits are available.

2. Second, SSDI is only for social security disability benefits.

Social security disability insurance is specific only to workers who have been injured and are unable to return to work. On the other hand, SSI takes more factors into account, such as income level and age.

3. Third, SSDI comes from a social security disability trust fund, while SSI comes from the U.S. Treasury.

People who receive SSDI are receiving the money that they have, theoretically, paid for through contributions garnished from their salary while working. However, SSI comes directly from all taxpayers as a form of social assistance.

4. Fourth, SSI qualification has strict asset limits, but SSDI does not.

SSDI vs. SSI is less strict about what assets an applicant has. An injured worker applying for social security disability insurance can have a large house, investments, and other assets and still receive SSDI. However, someone applying for SSI with many assets will be disqualified.

5. Fifth, SSI can apply to minors, but SSDI cannot. 

Social security disability insurance is meant to compensate for an inability to return to work and earn a salary. However, SSI can be paid out to minors as a way to assist parents in covering the extra expenses required for children with special needs. That is a bigger priority for low-income parents with disabled children.

Why You Might Need One Over the Other

So, when should you think about getting specific social security disability benefits and when might social security disability not apply in your case? Much of this depends on your qualifying factors. 

Social Security Disability Insurance

You should apply for social security disability insurance if you meet two criteria:

  1. First, if you are injured.
  2. Second, if your injury prevents you from returning to your job.

The most crucial distinction between SSDI vs. SSI is the word “insurance.” However, social security disability insurance is reserved only for those that have already “contributed” to a shared pool of funding by being a part of the workforce.

For example, social security disability insurance is for injured workers who are “cashing out” on the social security disability that they have been paying as a result of being non-disabled employees. However, the amount of social security disability insurance a recipient gets depends on how many years of work they put in before they needed social security disability assistance.

Supplemental Security Income

SSDI and SSI differ in who qualifies. You can receive social security disability benefits through SSI, but the social security disability recipients can be much broader than with SSDI. However, people may be eligible for these social security disability benefits if they are:

  • Disabled
  • Parents to disabled children
  • Blind
  • Over 65
  • Low income

SSI benefits are determined by need, not by whether a person has actively worked for a certain number of years.

Why It’s Important or Know the Difference

The most important reason to know SSDI vs. SSI differences is so that you have the greatest possible chance of success at receiving social security disability benefits. 

The requirements for applying for social security disability benefits, whether for SSDI or SSI, are strict and have little tolerance for deviation or incompleteness. Make sure you understand your situation, requirements for financial assistance, and the difference between SSI and SSDI. That way, you can choose the correct route and application forms. Otherwise, your claim will be denied, and you will have wasted time when trying to get much-needed financial assistance. 

For example, if you think your child qualifies for social security disability through SSI, but you submit an SSDI application for social security disability benefits, your claim will be denied. A minor who has never worked can’t receive that type of social security disability benefits. In the same way, if you need social security disability benefits for a month or two as you recover from an injury, the social security disability you apply for through SSI won’t be successful since you’re going back to work once healed. 

You May Need Additional Help

There are even cases, where, with a proper understanding of SSDI vs. SSI, you may qualify for both. Under certain circumstances, it is possible to receive social security disability for both SSDI and SSI, provided you meet the criteria for both types of social security disability

The difference between SSI and SSDI is significant. If you’ve assessed your situation but are unclear about which option to pursue, then seek the help of a social security disability benefits lawyer. Your lawyer can help you understand your legal and financial options. Plus, they can help collect the documents needed and build a good claim that governing bodies will accept. 

If you feel you’ve correctly applied for SSDI or SSI and received an unfair denial, that’s not the end of the story. You can always talk to an experienced legal professional about an appeal to get that decision overturned.


Quick Answers

What is SSDI?

SSDI stands for social security disability insurance. However, these are specific social security disability benefits for those that can no longer work due to an injury and require social security disability for financial assistance.

What is SSI?

An injured worker applying for social security disability insurance can have a large house, investments, and other assets and still receive SSDI. However, someone applying for SSI with many assets will be disqualified.


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