How do SSDI and SSI differ from each other?

If an injury or health condition disables you, you have options under Social Security to acquire benefits if you cannot keep working at your current job. You may have heard about the Social Security Disability Insurance program and are considering applying for it. However, you might have the additional option to apply for Supplemental Security Income. 

Though similar, these types of benefits are not the same. Depending on your disability and current financial situation, you may prefer one over the other. The Social Security website provides some background that may help you to understand what distinguishes SSDI and SSI. 

An overview of SSDI

You are eligible for SSDI if you have a work history and have paid into Social Security. The length of time you have worked will be a factor in receiving SSDI as well as your age when you suffered your disability. Also, your disability must last for no less than 12 months or must continue for the rest of your life in order for you to qualify. 

An overview of SSI

SSI is different because it is a safety net program that does not depend on your work history. You can receive SSI if you have never worked or paid into Social Security. To qualify for SSI, you must have a disability, suffer from blindness, or be 65 years or older. 

Additionally, Social Security places an asset cap on people who may receive SSI. This means that if you have too much in income or other financial assets, Social Security will deny your request for SSI. 

You may receive both

Some people may have the disability requirements and prior work history to receive SSDI and yet have diminished financial resources that make it possible to qualify for SSI. So you do not have to restrict your choice of benefits to either SSDI or SSI alone. The requirements of both programs make it possible that you may qualify for both at the same time. 

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