What Are the Differences Between SSI and SSDI?

The federal government provides several benefits programs that deliver monetary help to people with disabilities and those who are senior citizens at least 65 years of age or older. These programs include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). They are two of the Social Security Administration’s most widely used benefits programs. Before you apply for one of these programs, it’s important to understand who they’re for, how they work, when to apply and what is required in order to qualify.

What Is SSI?

SSI is a program for adults with disabilities. It’s designed for those with very low income and minimal resources. A person can receive SSI at the same time as income and other benefits from state or local programs.

What Is SSDI?

SSDI provides income to people who have a qualifying work history and are now disabled. You can also qualify if your spouse or parent has a qualifying work history.

What Does the Social Security Administration Define As a Disability?

According to the Social Security Administration, a disability relates to your ability to work and the expected duration of the disability. You must have a permanent disability in order to be eligible for SSI and SSDI. Partial or temporary disabilities will make you ineligible for these programs. You must submit medical records and documentation of the extent and duration of your disability. Some of the documentation must be completed by your physician.

What Are the Main Differences Between SSI and SSDI?

SSI eligibility is based on the person’s age, disability, income and resources. SSDI eligibility is based on the number of work credits and the diagnosis of a qualifying disability. In most states, a person who meets the eligibility criteria for SSI will immediately qualify for Medicaid healthcare coverage. A person who qualifies for SSDI can enroll in Medicare two years after they begin receiving payments.

What Are the SSI Eligibility Criteria?

To receive SSI, you must meet at least one of the three eligibility criteria. The first is age of at least 65 years old and very limited resources and income. The second criteria is blindness at any age and limited income or resources. You can also meet SSI eligibility requirements if you have a disability at any age and also have limited income or resources. If you meet eligibility requirements, you can receive your first payment the next month.

What Are the SSDI Eligibility Criteria?

To meet SSDI payment eligibility requirements, you must be diagnosed with a disability and have a minimum number of work credits through your own, your parent’s or your spouse’s work history. Payments can begin as early as six months after your documented disability diagnosis.

How Much Money Is an SSI or an SSDI Payment?

You could receive up to $841 for a single person or $1,261 for a married couple each month after meeting SSI requirements. If you meet SSDI eligibility criteria, you could receive up to $3,345 each month, depending on your income and work history.

Can You Receive SSI and SSDI At the Same Time?

Yes, if you meet the age, low income and low resource requirements, you can receive SSI and SSDI at the same time. You might not get the full amount of both benefits, but you could receive more than you would if you were only eligible for one of the two types of benefits.

How Long Does It Take for an SSI or SSDI Claim to Be Processed?

An SSI or SSDI claim takes about three to five months for review. If your claim is denied, you can file an appeal. The appeals process may take another three to six months for review. The Social Security Administration offers a compassionate review expedition process. This is only for people with severe disabilities.

How Do You Apply for SSI or SSDI?

You can apply for SSI online if you’re an adult. If you’re applying for SSI for a child, you’ll have to visit the Social Security Administration’s local office in person or call their hotline at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to start the application process. Their phones are answered Monday through Friday from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm Eastern Standard time. You can apply for SSDI online no matter what your age. You may also call or apply at a local office of the Social Security Administration.