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Are SSDI and SSI Different?

In short, the answer is yes. SSDI and SSI are two separate programs, established for different reasons to assist specific groups of people.

SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, was established in 1960 and workers and employers' Social Security taxes pay for the benefits. SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, came into existence in 1974, and it is paid for with revenue collected by the Treasury Department for operating the U.S. government.

How Do You Qualify for SSDI or SSI?

To be eligible for SSDI benefits, an individual must have worked in employment that was covered by Social Security. The person must also have a physical or mental disability preventing him or her from performing his or her regular job duties or some other type of work. In addition, the disability must be expected to persist for 12 months at a minimum or result in death.

To qualify for SSI benefits, it is not necessary for the individual to have performed work covered by Social Security. A primary difference between the two programs is that SSI benefits are only meant for those with little to no income. Those who may be eligible include:

  • Adults who are 65 years old or older
  • Disabled or blind adults
  • Disabled or blind children

Despite the differences, both programs use the same definition of "disabled" to determine who qualifies to collect benefits.

Who May Collect the Benefits?

The disabled worker is not the only eligible party to receive SSDI benefits. In the case of the worker's death, certain family members, such as children or spouses, may also collect the benefits.

Comparatively, dependants are not eligible to collect SSI benefits in the case of the receiving party's death.

Source: AARP, "What's the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?" Stan Hinden, June 13, 2012.

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Contact us online or call our offices directly at 888-351-0427 for a free case evaluation. All cases are taken on contingency, meaning there are no fees until we recover benefits for you.

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.


Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448

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