Applying for disability insurance can be extremely confusing as there are many different programs intended to give financial assistance to individuals living with disabilities. Two very well-known programs offered through the Social Security Administration are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

These programs overlap in some areas, but understanding the differences is vital. According to the National Council on Aging, SSDI is for individuals with a qualifying work history while SSI is for persons living with a disability and limited resources.

What is SSI?

SSI provides assistance to individuals with disabilities, no matter what their age is. Usually, payouts associated with SSI are much lower than those associated with SSDI. Additionally, since the payouts associated with SSI are so low, recipients of SSI typically get additional assistance from Individual state programs. On average, a person getting SSI will receive $542 a month.

What is SSDI?

In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have a qualifying work history or have a relationship with somebody who does. SSDI is only for individuals who have worked. In contrast to SSI, many SSI recipients have never worked because their disabilities have not allowed them to. Generally speaking, recipients of SSDI became disabled later in life. On average, a person getting SSDI will receive $1,171 a month.

As stated prior, there is potential overlap between SSI and SSDI. If you have very limited resources in addition to a work history, it is possible that you qualify for both of these programs. However, if you have recently sustained an injury that has resulted in a disability, it is likely that you will be applying for SSDI alone.