Differences Between SSI and SSDI

Posted by Elliot Marks

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs which provide monthly payments to people to support their income. These programs aim to help support people with monthly incomes who have contributed to their earning record and are now unable to work, or qualify for supplemental income.

What Is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is a financial assistance program made by the Social Security Administration. SSI pays monthly payments to people with limited resources and income such as the blind, disabled, and those who are 65 or older. Children who are blind or disabled can also apply for SSI.

What Is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance pays monthly benefits to workers who can no longer work as a result of a disability or illness. Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be done through a local agent, and the status of your application can be checked online. Anyone over the age 18 can use the Adult Disability Checklist to see if they are eligible to receive benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance

How Are SSI and SSDI Different?

Supplemental Security Income is a means-tested program, and Social Security Disability Income is an entitlement based on your working record. This means SSI is distributed based on need, whereas SSDI is earned.

Financial Requirements

Because they serve different people, both programs have distinct financial requirements. SSI is intended to meet the needs of elderly, visually impaired, and disabled. People who are eligible for SSI, might have a hard time accessing food and shelter without supplemental income. Since SSI is custom fitted for a particular set of individuals, applying for SSI has strict requirements.

Any person can apply to SSDI if they have been paying into Social Security for at least 10 years. Their assets and financial situation are not taken into consideration. In principle, every single qualified worker is a potential SSDI beneficiary, even those receiving high income.

Differences In Benefit

In general, those receiving SSDI will get more money per month than those on SSI.

In 2015:

  • SSI payment standard was $733 each month.
  • SSDI payment standard was at $1,165 each month

In 2018:

  • SSI payment standard is $750 each month
  • SSDI payment standard was at $1,195 each month

Social Security Disability Income is based on a person’s earning record, which means that they may be entitled to more than the average. Furthermore, SSI program benefits will be lower if an individual receives support from other sources such as family members, meaning many people might receive less than the average on their monthly payments.

Social Security Disability Medication

Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid

People who receive SSI benefits usually meet all requirements for Medicaid. Since Medicaid is a government health care services program that is joint with the state, often times when you apply for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid may come with it.

Social Security Disability Income and Medicare

SSDI recipients are entitled to Medicare two years after qualifying to receive their SSDI benefits. Medicare is a medical coverage program that pays for hospital services, if not all medical care services.

Receiving Both SSI and SSDI

At times, someone can be considered eligible for both the benefits under SSI and SSDI. In the event that you have adequate work history and have sufficiently gathered work credits, you will be qualified for SSDI. People who are retired can apply for retirement benefits and also receive SSI benefits on top of that. Moreover, if your wage and assets are below the limit of SSI requirements, you might be qualified for SSI.


Does SSI or SSDI Pay More?

The average monthly payments from Social Security Disability Income are bigger than those of Supplemental Security Income. SSDI payments are based on work record earning which means a higher payments for people that paid more into Social Security.

What Is The Average Disability Check Amount?

In 2015, the average SSDI payment was $1,165 a month. This number will scale depending on your work record and the amount you have already invested into Social Security.

What Is The Maximum Income I Can Have To Apply For SSI?

If you are applying for SSI, you must be earning less than $750 a month as an individual, or $1,125 a month for a couple.

Can I Work While Receiving SSI Payments?

Yes, you can work while receiving SSI payments as long as your monthly income is less than the required threshold, which will make you ineligible.

How Much Can You Make In Addition To SSI Payments?

You can have a monthly income of $1,180 before you become ineligible to receive monthly SSI payments.

Do I Have To Pay Taxes On SSDI or SSI?

You will not be required to pay taxes on SSDI unless you make over $25,000 annually, or $32,000 as a couple.

Elliot Marks

Elliot Marks

Author & Social Security Advisor

Elliot Marks has spent over 10 years providing clear and concise information to help Americans navigate the complex nuances of social security and many other government services in the United States. Elliot has a passion for helping those in need of these services to be able to find timely access to news and information that is relevant and helpful to their daily lives.