Many people confuse government programs, mostly due to their names and responsibilities being so similar to each other. For example, often people confuse Medicare with Medicaid, when they are two very different programs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) are two more programs frequently confused, but while these programs do share some similarities, they target entirely different audiences. These two government programs were created to assist people with medical conditions with monthly monetary payments, and they both provide a valuable asset to those in need. Knowing the difference is vital, especially if you need to take advantage of one of them, so read for a better understanding of the similarities and differences between SSDI and SSI.

Similarities Between SSI and SSDI

  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees and administers both programs.
  • The medical condition qualifications are the same for both programs.
  • You can receive monthly payments from each program if you qualify. (You cannot receive benefits from both programs at the same time).
  • Once approved, your monthly income must stay below a certain amount.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

This program is aimed at those who have worked a certain amount of time and have accumulated what the SSA calls "work credits". In general, you must have earned at least 40 credits over your lifetime to qualify for SSDI benefits, and 20 of those credits need to have been earned in the most recent 10 year period. How do you earn a credit? Every $1,200 dollars you earn equals a work credit. For younger claimants (less than 31 years old) there are special rules allowing them to qualify even without the work credits.

Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI)

The SSI program is aimed at people who have little to no income or property, and have not worked enough to have earned work credits that would have qualified them for SSDI. Claimants can have only $2,000 worth of property to qualify, but your home and some other property is not counted towards that $2,000.

Most people who already know they qualify for other government sponsored aid programs, like food stamps and housing assistance, will also very likely qualify (at least financially) for SSI. For those curious about what type of property is used to make up that $2,000 and whether or not they qualify for either program, a screening tool is available on the SSA website.

Both of these programs have two types of main evaluations: the medical condition eligibility and the work/financial eligibility, and both must be met to qualify for benefits. If you have been denied benefits, contact a Social Security attorney for help in getting the benefits you need and deserve.