What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?

Q: What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?

A: Social Security has two programs that pay disabled people. One is SSI (Supplemental Security Income); the other is “regular” Social Security, or SSDI. There is a lot of confusion about these two programs in the mind of the public.

The SSDI or “regular” disability program pays a claimant based on the money paid into Social Security during a lifetime. The amount is determined by how much has been paid in, divided by years of life expectancy. Payments may also be sent to a spouse and children. Eligibility includes Medicare two years after entitlement date.

The SSI program is an entitlement program, paid to people who have not worked regularly during the past five years. There is an asset limitation and a household income limitation for eligibility as well. There is immediate state Medicaid coverage with this program.

While they wait the many months and even years that an appeal takes, many have had to declare bankruptcy, some even died while awaiting hearings. After that initial denial, many become discouraged and drop out of the process.

People need help getting the right decision the first time, and that’s where we come in. For claimants with attorney representation, the success rate is up to 80% favorably concluded. In some cases, an experienced attorney can expedite the process of issuing a favorable decision.