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What is the difference between SSDI and SSI? 

When dealing with a disability there are two options available under the Social Security Act (SSA) that can provide a source of replacement income and medical benefits: Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Both SSDI and SSI are in place to help those that can’t help themselves. By making sure that the disabled do not fall through the cracks, SSA helps to ensure that we have a more stable society that takes care of its most vulnerable citizens.

History of the Social Security Act

On August 14th, 1935 the Social Security Act (SSA) was signed and enacted by President Roosevelt.  The basic premise was to provide security for the vulnerable of the U.S., which would make for a more secure society. Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) were two of the many creations under that program.

SSDI and SSI were designed for different populations

SSA provides for two types of disability coverage: Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. Both are meant to provide income and benefits for citizens who are unable to work because of being disabled. The main difference is SSDI and SSI serve different populations.

To qualify for SSDI, one must have paid into the Social Security system with deductions from past employment and meet certain other qualifying factors. In that way, it functions like a disability insurance policy. Those that have not paid into the system (or haven’t paid enough) may qualify for SSI if they meet income and resource limitations. In that respect, it’s akin to other needs-based programs.

Applying for disability benefits is seldom an easy, straightforward process. It can be helpful to have legal counsel that is experienced in Social Security Disability claims, to make sure that your rights afforded under the SSA are protected.