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What is SSDI and SSI?

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Brief Explanation of Social Security Disability Case:

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Most Social Security disability claimants do not realize there are differences between these two main Social Security disability programs and often refer to the whole process as filing a Social Security disability claim. This article will briefly discuss these two disability programs and highlight some of the differences between them.

SSDI means Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and was enacted by Congress to pay disability benefits to disabled workers regardless of age and their dependents whereas SSI means Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and was enacted to pay disability benefits to disabled persons regardless of age even if they have never worked or have not paid enough in payroll taxes to be eligible for SSDI.

Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are paid to blind or disabled workers, to their widows or widowers and their minor children whereas SSI benefits are paid only to the disabled person but not their widows or widowers or their minor children (unless they have their own disability). The Social Security disability criteria is the same for determining physical and mental impairments of the claimant under both SSDI and SSI which is that your impairments prevent you from doing past work (if any) or any other work and that the impairment(s) last in duration for at least a year or ends in death.

Under SSDI the disability benefits is determined based on a formula on your earnings that you paid in Social Security taxes (basically based on the claimants work record just like retirement benefits) and you can collect if eligible regardless of your assets or resources. Whereas with Supplemental Security Income the disability benefits are paid from general revenues collected by the Treasury Department to operate the U.S. government and if you have too many assets or resources you will be ineligible for SSI as this program is only for people with very limited income and assets and are disabled. Generally resources are money in the bank, personal property and various other assets with exceptions such as not counting the value of your home and the value of one vehicle. If an individual has more than $2,000 in resources or if a married couple has more than $3,000 in resources (in 2014) the claimant will be ineligible for SSI even if disabled.


If you have any questions about Social Security disability, you can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213, go to their website at www.ssa.gov, or call The Nuebel Law Firm, P.A. at 407-703-5999 for a free consultation.

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