What Is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?



The importance of understanding that there are different types of disability benefits and different ways of qualifying through the Social Security Administration cannot be overstated. There are two primary types of disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration to protect disabled individuals and their families: Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Although each program provides assistance to disabled individuals, different groups of disabled individuals may qualify for one set of benefits over another.

The primary difference is that Social Security Disability benefits are based on the work history of the applicant who has paid into the program.

Supplemental Security Income does not look at the applicant’s work history, but instead determines if they are of limited income and resources to determine if they qualify for benefits.

Both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability benefits provide assistance to disabled individuals who meet the federal definition of “disability.”However, our readers may wonder what the differences between SSI and SSD are. There are similarities and differences between the two programs, and determining what benefits you may qualify for can depend on an understanding of the similarities and differences. It is generally important for disabled individuals to be able to obtain the benefits they badly need, so it is worth understanding the similarities and differences and how you may qualify for benefits.

Supplemental Security Income is available for disabled individuals, as well as the elderly and the blind. It is available to meet their basic needs, including food and shelter, that they might otherwise have a difficult time securing. The income and resources, or means, of the individual to provide for their needs help determine their eligibility for benefits, which is unlike how applicants for Social Security Disability benefits financially qualify for SSD benefits. SSD does not look at income and assets to qualify for benefits; it is based on work history and those who have paid in, and meet disability requirements, are entitled to receive it.

Additionally, recipients of SSI benefits immediately qualify for Medicaid, whereas SSD beneficiaries may qualify for Medicare at some point. It is also important to be aware that the amount of financial benefit the recipient receives can vary considerably between the two programs. As always, the applicant for either type of benefit must also meet the requirements to be considered disabled, which means they must have a physical or mental medical condition expected to last for 12 months or longer, or result in death, that prevents them from working.

There are many resources out there that are available to disabled individuals, which can also make the process seem complex. As a result, it is important for individuals suffering from a disability, and their families, to be as familiar with those options as possible.

The benefits provided by SSI may not be familiar to everyone, but can be important to disabled individuals who do not meet the work history requirement to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but can meet the economic requirements to qualify for SSI benefits.

Social Security benefits, either regular or disability benefits, are generally based on what the worker has paid in and family members may also be able to receive the benefits in certain circumstances. On the other hand, SSI benefits are for disabled individuals who are elderly or disabled and also of limited means and resources. SSI benefits do not come out of Social Security trust fund, though the program is managed by the Social Security Administration. SSI benefits are paid out of the government’s general operating fund. The trust fund is also reimbursed from the general operating funds for the costs of running the SSI program.

The variety of programs available, and the differences, requirements and benefits associated with them, can be complex, so it is important to thoroughly understand what options are available and the details for qualifying for each particular program that the disabled individuals may be eligible for. It is essential for many disabled individuals and their families to understand how to obtain badly needed disability benefits for their daily living.

Understanding that Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability and basic Social Security retirement benefits are all different programs is an excellent starting point. It is additionally useful to understand how it may be possible to qualify for benefits under each program and how to qualify for SSI when it is needed.

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The Law Office of Ellene Welsh Testimonials

Avedis SmithAvedis Smith
20:02 27 Jul 23
When I first got my review denial letter from SSA and had to appeal I was crushed...I contacted several lawyers and no one wanted to take my case. I contacted Ellene Welsh law firm and spoke with Annette and told her about my situation(she spoke with Attorney Welsh) they agreed and took my case. Let me tell you, they are so thorough...they took the time to explain everything to me each step of the way and obtained all medical records, worked endlessly with my SSA hearing officer, and help ease my anxiety. I'm happy to write after a long battle I received a fully favorable decision with no hearing!! If you need a office that will work tirelessly for you then look no further...Thankyou so much to Attorney Welsh and Annette...
Donl AtkinsDonl Atkins
21:47 02 Jan 23
Mrs Welsh and her staff were so helpful. They kept me informed every step of the way and I received a better decision than I expected.Would hire them again if needed.
Reign SupremeReign Supreme
17:19 02 Nov 22
Friendly, professional and attentive. I was made to feel comfortable asking questions.
Kimberly HanbackKimberly Hanback
17:04 05 Oct 22
I had tried to get my disability first with a different lawyer and was turned down. When I called thier office to ask about an appeal they said they couldn't help me and was very rude and hung up on me. Found another lawyer who did my appeal was turned down. I called Ellene Welsh and her and her staff were very nice and helpful. Of course it was during the pandemic so we had to do things differently but she helped me and I won my case. Anytime I had a question they were very helpful and nice. If I could just say if you need a great lawyer with a great staff call her. They will fight for you. Love them.
kyle croftkyle croft
20:29 11 Jul 22
After being denied by SSD , I called the Law offices of Ellen Welsh and she got my disability claim approved. Her employees were professional and easy to work with. They took care of everything. I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone needing help with their SSD CLAIM
Kris ArhartKris Arhart
17:46 02 Feb 22
Ms. Ellene Welsh Came recommended from another attorney. The whole process with her office was as smooth as it can be. If you have never had to use a attorney before let me explain something I learned. Every great attorney has a amazing Paralegal / assistant or more behind them. Ms. Welsh team made contact As easy as I can get. Whether it be by phone or email. Thank Ms. Welsh and your amazing office for all the hard work yall did to make this process as easy as possible.
Pam ScheibPam Scheib
02:49 01 Feb 17
I became a client of Ellene's 3 years ago. When I first met Ellene she took a great deal of time to go over my denied paperwork from Social Security. She explained it was not a quick process and we would be looking at least another year to eighteen months before a hearing. She explained every step! When I had questions Becky and other office staff were always there to walk me through my questions and ease my mind and at times frustrations. Never along this journey did I feel ignored or abandoned. Ellene's staff got all my records together for my hearing and thanks to their hard work we got an immediate decision. It is very rare, I knew it was a good case going in, but Ellene made sure every "I" was dotted and every "T" was crossed. She was excellent in front of the judge and knows what she is doing. It was her 20 plus years experience that makes her so good! I can't thank Ellene and her staff enough for all their time, hard work and dedication in helping me with my case. I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney.

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With 35 years of legal experience, Attorney Ellene Welsh specializes in assisting individuals in the Douglasville, Columbus, and West Georgia areas to secure Work Comp, Social Security Disability, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, leveraging her in-depth knowledge of the systems and collaborating with admin officials to secure her clients the financial support they deserve.

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