SSDI vs SSI Differences: Your Guide to Disability Benefits 

David M. Dick Co., L.P.A. Explains SSDI vs SSI Differences: Navigating Disability Benefits

At David M. Dick Co., L.P.A., we fully understand that navigating the labyrinth of disability benefits is an overwhelming task for many individuals. It can seem like an endless swirl of complex jargon, intricate processes, and all-too-forgiving mistakes. We acknowledge the strain and frustration this might create. We’re here to help guide you through the SSDI vs SSI differences.

Understanding the differences and specifics between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is crucial when exploring available options related to disability support. This comprehensive guide will explore the key differences between SSDI and SSI, including funding sources, eligibility requirements, health coverage, and more.

Navigating Disability Benefits

Knowing which benefits you’re entitled to can provide not just financial relief but also peace of mind when facing the challenges brought on by disability. In the United States, the Social Security Administration (S.S.A.) manages two major programs that support people with disabilities: SSDI and SSI.

Overview of SSDI and SSI

What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance is designed for individuals with a history of working and contributing to the Social Security trust fund via FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes. The funding for SSDI, therefore, comes from these payroll contributions.

What is SSI?

In contrast, Supplemental Security Income benefits are aimed at individuals with limited income and resources who have not necessarily paid into the Social Security trust through FICA taxes. SSI is funded by general tax revenues, not the Social Security trust fund.

Qualification Requirements for SSDI and SSI

SSDI Eligibility:

  • Meeting the S.S.A.’s disability criteria.
  • Being “insured” has made sufficient contributions to FICA based on your own, spouse’s, or parents’ payroll earnings.

SSI Eligibility:

  • Meeting the S.S.A.’s disability criteria.
  • Having limited income and resources, according to the thresholds set by the S.S.A.


It’s clear that while both programs serve disabled individuals, the SSDI program is contingent upon previous work contributions, whereas SSI focuses on current financial needs.

Health Insurance Coverage Provided by SSDI and SSI

Medicare and SSDI:

  • Hospital insurance (Part A)
  • Supplementary medical insurance (Part B)
  • Medicare Advantage (Part C)
  • Prescription drug benefits (Part D)

Medicare is authorized by Title XVIII of the Social Security Act and is a crucial benefit for SSDI recipients.

Medicaid and SSI:

Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that assists low-income individuals, including those who are disabled. It’s governed by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, and eligibility can vary from state to state.

Determining Payment Amounts

SSDI benefits are based on the disabled worker’s lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security. If you receive other disability payments, your SSDI may be adjusted. Meanwhile, the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR), which for 2011 is $674 for an individual and $1,011 for a couple, serves as the starting point for calculating SSI payments. Your “countable income” is then subtracted from the FBR, and any applicable state supplements are added.

State Supplemental Payments

While SSDI does not offer state supplemental payments, many states provide additional funds to their SSI recipients. These supplements and their qualifications vary from state to state.

Additional Considerations

Both SSDI and SSI adjust payments annually to correlate with changes in the cost of living. Also, recipients should be aware of how additional sources of income, particularly Workers’ Compensation, could impact their disability payments.

Your Path to Understanding, with David M. Dick Co., L.P.A.

Deciphering the SSDI vs SSI differences is fundamental when navigating disability benefits. Recognizing these differences equips you to manage expectations and strategically seek the support to which you’re entitled. It’s a complex journey, but know this—you don’t need to chart it alone.

At David M. Dick Co., L.P.A., we’re your reliable ally in this process. If you’re preparing to apply or are simply questing for more information about SSDI and SSI, we’re here to extend our knowledge and expertise. Our experienced professionals offer a cohesive blend of assertiveness and understanding, ready to provide you with personalized assistance every step of the way. Contact us for personalized assistance throughout your journey.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Always consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.