What Is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

If you cannot work because of a disability, you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages both programs that provide Social Security disability benefits to individuals, which are Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). 

Knowing the difference between SSI and SSDI is crucial because both programs have different eligibility requirements for benefits.

What Is Social Security Supplemental Income?

SSI is the abbreviation used to refer to Social Security Supplemental Income. Most disability applications begin by determining if the applicant qualifies for SSDI (discussed in-depth below). If not, the SSA determines if they qualify to receive SSI benefits.

There is no work requirement to qualify for SSI benefits. Instead, applications are based on a person’s financial resources, age, or medical condition. 

You can receive SSI benefits if you are:

  • 65 years old without disability and meet the financial qualifies for SSI benefits
  • You are an adult or child who is blind
  • You are an adult or a child with a disabling condition and have income and resources below the financial limits

A disabling condition is defined as a medical condition that has lasted 12 months, is expected to last at least a year, or results in death. The condition can be a physical or mental condition, but it must be medically verified to qualify for SSI.

For 2023, the SSI income limits are $1,913 for an individual and $2,827 for a couple. Income from gifts, pensions, and other resources must be below $934 for individuals and $1,391 for couples. The income limits are adjusted each year. 

The SSA also looks at a person’s resources. Individuals must have less than $2,000 in resources to qualify for SSI in 2023. Couples can have up to $3,000 in resources in 2023.

You are automatically enrolled in your state’s Medicaid program when you qualify for SSI. Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program is referred to as Medical Assistance.

What Is Social Security Disability Income?

SSDI is the abbreviation used to refer to Social Security Disability Income. SSDI is a type of insurance for workers who become disabled. Qualifying for SSDI depends on your employment history and health condition. 

Key differences between SSI and SSDI include:

  • SSDI requires a specific number of work credits to be eligible for benefits, but you can qualify for SSI without a work history. 
  • Your Social Security income record determines the amount of monthly benefits available. SSI benefits are determined by need and the monthly limits for the current year.
  • The SSDI program is funded by SS and FICA taxes that workers pay through payroll deductions.
  • The monthly benefits for SSDI are generally much higher than SSI benefits. For example, the maximum monthly benefit for SSDI in 2023 is $3,636.
  • Qualifying dependent children might qualify for SSDI benefits if their parent receives SSDI. However, SSI does not provide benefits for dependent children. 
  • SSDI has a waiting period for qualifying for Medicare for most conditions. 

In addition to having sufficient work credits, SSDI requires you to have a disabling condition. The same requirements to determine disability are used when you apply for SSDI or SSI. Therefore, your condition must be fatal or last a minimum of one year to be considered disabled. 

How Do You Apply for SSI or SSDI Benefits in Pennsylvania?

You should apply for Social Security disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. You can apply for benefits online through the Social Security Administration’s website. You can also apply by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting a local Social Security office.

It is important to note that you have the right to be represented by an attorney when applying for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA denies many applications for disability benefits. Applicants can file an appeal if they are denied SSI or SSDI benefits. 

Working with a Harrisburg Social Security disability lawyer could help avoid mistakes and errors that cause your petition to be denied. The application, forms, and required documentation can be confusing and overwhelming. However, an attorney understands the process and what to do to give you the best chance of being approved for SSI or SSDI benefits. 

Preparing for the Social Security Disability Interview

Applicants for SSI and SSDI must attend an in-person or telephone interview with an SSA representative. You might be instructed to bring specific documents with you to the interview. 

The SSA representative questions you about your disability application, medical condition, income, resources, and other matters related to applying for SSI or SSDI. The representative asks questions about your personal life, including your marital status, who you live with, and your children. The interview is very extensive.

If you are concerned about the Social Security disability interview, a Harrisburg Social Security disability attorney can help you prepare for the SSA disability interview. An attorney can also answer other questions about the differences between SSI and SSDI benefits. 

If you’ve been injured in a social security disability, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963