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SSDI vs SSI: What is the Difference?


SSDI vs SSI: What is the Difference?

by Vincent Hein, Senior Attorney

Social Security Disability comes in two forms, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

An important difference between SSDI and SSI is that SSI is for those applicants who did not have enough work quarters to qualify for SSDI. SSDI is ultimately better than SSI and will pay more per month than SSI. If you worked at least some of the time during each year for the 10 years prior to applying for disability, you will likely qualify for SSDI. One problem applicants run into is when they wait too long to apply for disability, and as a result are only eligible for SSI.

Another important difference between SSDI and SSI is that SSI is means tested. That means if you have too many assets, you will not qualify. For example, if you have more than $2,000, you are not eligible for SSI (Technically, you can have more than $2,000 some of the time, but by the last day of the month you must have $2000 or less).

The main similarity between SSDI and SSI is that the 5 Steps required to qualify for SSI or SSDI are the same:

Step 1: Do You Have Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?

Step 2: Are your physical and/or mental conditions severe?

Step 3: Do you meet or equal a listing?

Step 4: Can you perform any of your Past Relevant Work (PRW)?

Step 5: Are there other jobs available in the national economy you could do?

Of the two forms of social security disability, SSDI is better than SSI, and whether you qualify for SSDI depends on your work history.

If you would like to speak with an attorney at Russell Law Offices, S.C. about your case, please call 608-448-3680 for a free consultation. The consultation is free, and we only get paid if you win.


Vincent Hein

Senior Associate Attorney

Jefferson, Marshall, Stoughton

About Vincent Hein is a Senior Associate Attorney at Russell Law Offices, S.C. Vincent’s law practice focuses on elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, nursing home protection planning, disability, business law, as well as trust and estate administration and trust and estate litigation. Vincent earned his undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy from the […]

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