SSI and SSDI: What’s the Difference?

The Two Separate and Distinct Programs for Social Security Benefits: SSI and SSDI

1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

  • For those who have paid enough into the insurance system through their FICA taxes.
    • Your eligibility depends on the “Quarters of Coverage” that you earn with those payments.
    • A quick call to your local Social Security Administration office can tell you whether or not you have enough credits. Ask them to send you a copy of your Quarters of Coverage summary.
    • Once you have enough credits you are Fully Insured. Then you need to be deemed disabled to qualify. (Jump to Chapter 2)
    • A rule of thumb is that you have worked for, at least, 5 of the last 10 years.
  • This is a higher rate of pay than SSI because you have paid to be insured.

2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • For those who have either not paid into the system through FICA or do not have sufficient “Quarters of Coverage” credits.
  • A quick call to your local Social Security Administration office can tell you whether or not you have enough credits. Ask them to send you a copy of your Quarters of Coverage summary.
  • This is a lower rate of pay than SSDI because you have not paid enough to be insured.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

  • Very simply, SSDI benefits are insurance benefits by paying FICA taxes. SSDI is the higher rate of pay of the two programs. SSI on the other hand is a type of welfare benefits for someone who has not paid FICA taxes. SSI is the lower rate of pay of the two programs.

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