SSDI and SSI: What Is the Difference Between Them?


SSDI and SSI are different things, even though many use the terms interchangeably. If you are a senior citizen or suffering from a disability, you can start applying for benefits through the Social Security Administration as long as you meet certain requirements. The process is easier said than done, so we highly recommend having a lawyer for social security claims present along the way.

You might have already started looking at benefits and are wondering what the difference between SSDI and SSI is. This is your guide to understanding how social security benefits work and if you should apply for SSDI or SSI.

What Is SSDI?

SSDI stands for social security disability benefits. People who file for these benefits have just recently suffered from a physical or mental disability that has placed them out of work. This is not for senior citizens.

Qualifying for SSDI is extremely hard, and on average, 70% of applicants are denied. You will have to fill out an application to get started with SSDI benefits and go through an investigation from the SSA to determine if you are eligible for benefits.

Here’s how to qualify for SSDI:

  • You must have a disability that meets SSA standards
  • You must have worked somewhere that is covered by the SSA

Your physical or mental disability must be severe enough to place you out of work for at least a year, and you must not be able to make adjustments with your disability to be able to work. This is included in the SSA’s definition of disability for people to qualify.

But qualifying for SSDI goes much deeper than that. You also have to have a certain number of work credits that you’ve accrued over the years you’ve been working.

For most people, the requirement is 40 work credits. Adults average 4 work credits each year, earning one credit per every $1,510 you make. This can be more complicated for younger workers who have not worked as long.

The average monthly payment for people applying for SSDI is $1,361.40 per adult disabled individual. Those with disabilities and their family can seek benefits for their spouse and children. Each spouse and children can receive up to 50% of the disabled adult’s monthly payment.

If you are a younger adult, your work credit recommended must be at least 6 work credits over a 3-year timespan. If you are unsure of how many work credits you have or know that you do not have enough to meet the requirement, contact a lawyer for social security claims in Greenville, SC, for their expertise.

social security SSDI

What Is SSI?

SSI, social security income, is what you apply for once you become a senior citizen. Applying for SSI almost follows the same rules and qualifications, but is slightly different. One qualification that you do not have to worry about is anything work-based.

Here are the qualifications for applying for SSI:

  • You must be at least 65 years of age
  • Experience partial or total hearing loss and blindness
  • Having another medical disability that prevents you from working

To apply for SSI, the SSA will also look at your assets like stocks, bonds, and bank accounts to get a better sense of your funds and assistance. Monthly payments for SSI vary between an individual or a couple.

An individual drawing SSI can receive a max of $841 a month, while couples can receive $1,261. In addition to what you’re receiving from SSA, South Carolina is a state that can pay an extra supplement to qualifying individuals. The best way to go about obtaining this is to consult with an attorney.

Common Problems Filing for Assistance

There can be a few hiccups some people face when applying for SSDI or SSI; one of those is cooperation.

The SSA looks at factors such as a person’s age, work history, health history, and more, which can also affect how much you receive and if your claim is approved. It is extremely important that you cooperate with the SSA, even if they ask for medical records or other information.

Failure to cooperate can lead to your claim being denied. It’s already hard to go through the process of being approved, and the appeal process is not a walk in the park either.

How a Social Security Lawyer Can Help

To optimize your earnings for your social security benefits, the best thing to do is to hire an attorney that specializes in this area. Start by researching “SSDI lawyer near me” to find firms that can help you, then consult with a handful through their free consultations.

A social security lawyer can help you do multiple things throughout your application process. For starters, they can apply for you while using the information you’ve given them to make sure the application is filled out correctly and highlights your need for assistance.

Your attorney can also help you look back through your doctor’s visits, medical history, social security statements, and other information to help you see if you qualify and how to best go about your claim.

Not only can they help you apply for benefits, but they can also help you during the appeal process since you cannot automatically file a new claim. This is very beneficial to have a lawyer present for since they thoroughly understand the system and have in-depth knowledge about how to handle court and appeals to get you your benefits.

Speak to a Greenville, SC Attorney for Social Security Claims Today

If you have questions with your claim or need help applying, contact the law office of Robert Surface Law. Our firm is dedicated to helping those in Greenville, SC, file their social security claims to get the benefits they deserve without any hassle.

It can be very complicated to file for your SSDI or SSI benefits on your own. Our lawyers for social security claims have a thorough understanding of the SSA and how to apply the first time to optimize earnings and not be denied.

To get started with your claim, call us at (864) 300-4994 today.