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Three Big Differences Between SSDI And SSI

Three Big Differences Between SSDI And SSI

If you are disabled and struggling to cover your expenses, you may wish to consider applying for benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA has two different programs that pay disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Below, we will discuss the three major differences between these programs. If you live in the New York City area, the Manhattan-based Supplemental Security Income lawyers on the Seelig Law Group team would be happy to speak with you about which benefit program you may be eligible for.


The biggest difference between SSDI and SSI is who is eligible for benefits. Although both programs help support disabled individuals, SSDI is an entitlement program, while SSI is means-tested.

SSDI is available to disabled individuals under the age of 65, who have worked a certain number of years, and paid into the Social Security system. You must prove you are disabled under the SSA’s definition of disability in order to qualify for the program. Even if you have substantial assets you may still qualify for SSDI benefits because the program is not income based.

SSI is designed to meet the basic needs of people over the age of 65, the blind, and disabled individuals who would otherwise not be able to support themselves. You must have a limited income and limited resources in order to qualify for this program.

Funding Source & Payouts

As mentioned above, SSDI is only available to people who have paid into the Social Security system. The amount of money an SSDI recipient is eligible for depends on the amount of money he or she has paid into the system.

SSI beneficiaries have typically not paid into Social Security at all, or have not done so for quite some time. Instead of dipping into the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for this program, the federal government funds it directly with general tax dollars. The amount of money recipients receive is a flat dollar amount, but it can be reduced if the recipient is receiving other benefits.

Health Care Benefits

If you qualify for disability benefits, it is likely that you are also eligible for federal healthcare benefits.

Most people who are eligible for SSI, also qualify for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid is a need-based healthcare program funded jointly by the federal government, and here in New York City, the state of New York. Medicaid coverage is very desirable because it covers virtually all medical expenses.

SSDI beneficiaries may be eligible for Medicaid, but all SSDI beneficiaries are eligible for Medicare after receiving SSDI benefits for two years. Medicare does not provide the sort of comprehensive coverage that Medicaid does, but it still covers a lot of a recipient’s basic medical expenses.

NYC’s Disability Benefits Firm

If you are struggling to make ends meet, and you think you may qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, the experienced attorneys at the Seelig Law Group are here to help. We have helped hundreds of Manhattan residents tap into the benefits they need to live a quality life.

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