Understanding the differences between SSI and SSDI

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

Navigating the world of disability benefits is often difficult. This is especially true when it comes to programs like Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance.

Learning how to differentiate between the two programs is important, as they cater to different needs and have different eligibility criteria.

Eligibility criteria

You need to demonstrate financial need to get SSI. To qualify, you must have limited income and resources. SSI is available to individuals of any age, including children, who meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.

Whether you are eligible for SSDI depends on your work history. To be eligible, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a specified number of years, accumulating work credits. You also must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, similar to SSI, which involves a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or result in your death.

Waiting periods

There is no waiting period to receive SSI benefits once you receive approval. Eligibility starts on the first day of the month you applied.

SSDI has a mandatory five-month waiting period from the onset of your disability. This means that you do not receive any benefits during this waiting period.

Review processes

To get SSI, your financial situation must undergo regular review to ensure you still meet the program’s income and resource limits.

As an SSDI recipient, you must undergo periodic medical reviews to assess whether your disability continues to meet the SSA’s criteria.

Per the SSA, 9,243,999 Americans received disability benefits in 2021. The vast majority of recipients were workers with disabilities.

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