What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

May 20, 2021 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability insurance. If you suffer a disability that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for these benefits. SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. This program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and other financial resources. Although the SSDI and SSI programs are different, their medical requirements are the same. Additionally, both programs have non-medical requirements, such as a certain number of hours recently worked in a job covered by Social Security. The requirements to qualify for both types of insurance are listed below.

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits?

If your employment is covered by Social Security and you meet the medical requirements, you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Importantly, Social Security only covers total disability. The criteria to be considered disabled are:
  • Your medical condition prevents you from doing the work you did before becoming disabled
  • Your medical condition prevents you from doing other types of work
  • Your disability is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
If you have worked the required amount of time to be covered by Social Security, the SSA will determine whether or not you are disabled by asking five questions:
  1. Are you working?
  2. Is your condition severe?
  3. Is your condition on the list of disabling conditions?
  4. Can you do the work you did previously?
  5. Can you do any other type of work?

Can Family Members Receive Benefits?

Certain family members can receive Social Security benefits if they fall under one of the following categories:
  • Unmarried children, stepchildren, adopted children, or grandchildren under the age of 18 (or 19, if attending school full-time)
  • Spouses over the age of 62
  • Spouses caring for a disabled child or children under the age of 16
  • Unmarried children over the age of 18 diagnosed with a disability before turning 22
  • Single divorcees 62 years old or older and married for more than 10 years
Widows, widowers, and surviving divorcees are also entitled to benefits if they meet the following criteria:
  • Are between ages 50 and 60
  • Have a medical condition that meets the definition of disability for adults, and the disability occurred before or within seven years of the worker's death

Why Should I Work with a Disability Representative?

It is not uncommon for the SSA to deny people Social Security benefit payments. If you are denied benefits, you can request a hearing to re-examine your disability eligibility. It is recommended that you work with a Social Security Disability representative who can represent you at the hearing and improve your chances of receiving benefits. At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, we are here to help you with your benefits application. We can assist with all stages of the application process and guide you through the appeal process if you have been denied benefits. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about SSDI and SSI and can work to get you the benefits you need. Give us a call today to learn more.