You may have heard of “disability” in the past or may know someone who is receiving the benefits, but probably never thought as something that you could experience yourself. Now you are trying to figure out if you are eligible for Social Security benefits. You are probably scratching your head in awe, trying to distinguish between the two completely different governmental programs.

Per the 2019 RED BOOK, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are benefit programs intended to provide you with the assistance you need to move from benefit dependence to independence. Helping you to enter, re-enter, or stay in the workforce by protecting your eligibility for cash payments and/or health care until you achieve this goal.



Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides eligible individuals who are disabled, have worked in the past for a certain amount of years and have made enough contributions to the Social Security trust fund, earning enough work credits to qualify, either through their employment or a family member, such a spouse or parent.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides older individuals and people with disabilities regardless of age, including children who have limited income and resources, the minimum essential financial assistance.

While both programs provide monetary assistance to eligible disabled individuals, there are some notable differences. The good news is that some individuals could qualify for and receive from both benefit programs.

Comparison SSDI vs. SSI

Disability Programs Age Range Source of Money Qualification Requirements/Approval Health Insurance Coverage Provided
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Adults 18 years until full retirement age Based on work.

Disability trust fund

Must meet SSA’s disability criteria.

Must be “insured” due to contributions made to FICA using their own, spouse or parents’ earnings. Based on qualifying disability and work history.

Medicare. Consists of hospital insurance (Part A), supplementary medical insurance (Part B), and Medicare Advantage (Part C).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Adults and Children from birth to death Based on need.

General tax revenues

Must meet SSA’s disability criteria.

Strictly need-based financial aid, as specified by age, disability and limited income and assets.

Medicaid. A jointly-funded, Federal-State health insurance program for persons with limited income and resources. It covers certain children and some or all of the aged, blind, and disabled in a state who are eligible to receive federally-assisted income maintenance payments.


At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients with their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases, and provide valuable information to those looking into applying for disability benefits, or are interested in filing appeals from their initial denial. If you are looking to file your initial SSD case claim, you can download our guide here and file your application online here.

Do not hesitate to call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. We do not charge an up-front fee for social security legal representation. Click here for more information about social security disability and how Seff & Capizzi can help.