Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both government assistance programs that help Americans who cannot work due to disability. To qualify for these programs, an individual must prove that they are unable to work for at least a year, but that is not the only requirement. Differences between the program include the funding and the qualifications.
Funding for SSDI versus SSI
The revenue source that funds SSDI differs from the revenue source that funds SSI. The Social Security Administration administers both programs, but the government tailors SSI and SSDI to different subsets of people. SSI is a means-tested benefit because it is designed to meet the needs of disabled and elderly individuals. In contrast, SSDI is an entitlement program, which means that any individual who paid into Social Security for at least 10 years can qualify for it.
Qualifications for SSDI versus SSI
Typically, SSI recipients need to have low income and low resources. Individuals receive monthly payments in varying amounts depending on their monetary needs. The program awards benefits to those who are low income, 65 or older, and disabled.
SSDI is for individuals who have a history of working at least 10 years. If an individual cannot work, their disability needs to meet the Social Security disability guidelines to receive help, and it may also pay eligible family members.
Submitting a claim for either program is a difficult process. Individuals may need to consult a disability attorney to navigate the disability appeal processes and to ensure the system handles their claim properly.