Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

Photo of David Dopkin
Photo of David Dopkin

How are SSI and SSDI different?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

People sometimes make the mistake of assuming that SSDI and SSI are the same. Part of the reason for this is that they are both run by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

But these are actually very different programs. The first is Social Security Disability Insurance, while the second is Supplemental Security Income. Despite having similar acronyms and being run by the same government agency, these benefits are not the same program and it’s important for those who are considering applying for assistance to understand all of the differences between them.

Work history

For one thing, you do not need to have a work history for SSI. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve worked or if you haven’t worked at all. That being said, for SSDI, you typically do need to have a significant work history and evidence that your injury or condition is keeping you out of work.

A needs-based program

SSI is based on your needs, rather than your work history. The most important factors in an SSI claim are whether you have limited financial resources and either no income or a very limited one. You require the supplemental income as a result.

As you apply, you’ll have to show proof that this is true. There are many ways to do this, and it can be helpful to have proper documentation. This includes things like bank statements, property deeds, pay stubs and much more.

Navigating the process

Even though you may be very confident that you should qualify for SSI, it’s not always a guarantee that these benefits will be granted. This is an extensive process, there are many people who apply and denials are quite frequent. In many cases, people get denied initially, even though they do have a valid case. They just need to provide more documentation, more evidence or something else of this nature. The same can be said of SSDI claims, wherein someone has a requisite work history but they need to prove the ins and outs of their qualifying disability.

As such, it’s important for you to understand exactly what steps to take as you navigate this process. You need to know what legal options you have and how to put yourself in the best possible position for your application to succeed. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.