What are the Differences Between SSI and SSDI? Which is Right for Me?

by | Apr 11, 2016 | Lawyers

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When you have begun to experience the effects of a disability at any point in your life, gaining social security disability benefits from the SSA becomes extremely valuable. If you want to lead a comfortable and financially stable life post disability diagnosis, you need to know how to gain the benefits that will help you get there. However, before beginning the application process, you need to answer this question: do I need SSI or SSDI?

To help readers answer this question, we have written this useful guide.


SSI, also known as Supplemental Security Income, is strictly need-based, and depends on your income and assets. Since it is funded by taxes, it is considered a means-tested program. This program is 100% about financial need, so the main requirements you have to meet to quality have to do with how much money/assets you currently own. To qualify for SSI, you must currently have a very limited income, and assets equalling less than $2000. Couples, however, can have assets up to $3000.

When receiving SSI, you may still be qualified for other helpful programs like Medicaid and food stamps. Overall, this program is primarily intended for those who have always lived with a disability, or those who are recently expected to be permanently disabled.


Unlike SSI, SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) is funded by your own payroll taxes. To qualify for the program, you must have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust. Recipients must be under 65. When you have received SSDI for more than two years, most people will then become eligible for Medicare.

For those with families, SSDI can also provide partial dependent benefits to their children and spouse. However, to qualify for full SSDI benefits, you must be over the age of 18.

If you or someone you know is in need of SSI or SSDI, the Law Offices of Sheryl Gandel Mazur can help. We offer help to all those seeking these valuable benefits, and can walk you through every step of the application process. If you want to get started on a path to a more comfortable and financially-stable life post-disability, contact us at your convenience to set up a free consultation with our friendly and helpful staff.