Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

How is SSI different from Social Security Disability?

Social Security disability is an insurance program that is based upon insured status. An individual pays their insurance “premiums” through payroll deductions. Earnings reported to the Internal Revenue Service are the basis of an individual’s Social Security earnings record.

Each year, an individual can add four quarters of coverage to their insured status depending on their earnings for the year.

In contrast, SSI disability does not require an insured status or that a person work. It is based upon need rather than insured status. While it does not require work or insured status, SSI does have income and resource limits an individual must meet to be eligible for the program.

Generally, Social Security disability pays a higher monthly disability benefit than SSI, because it is based upon an individual’s earnings in the years prior to their becoming disabled. SSI disability has a set maximum monthly disability benefit determined by Social Security each year. SSI disability does not pay benefits for dependents. Social Security disability beneficiaries sometimes have enough money on their record for their dependents to receive benefits as well.

Previously, I mentioned that SSI has income and resource (assets) limits that determine eligibility. SSI disability beneficiaries must have no more than $2000.00 dollars in resources if they are an individual or $3000.00 if they part of a couple. While Social Security disability beneficiaries have no resource limits. Social Security Disability does not care about an individual’s assets because their disability benefits are based upon the their earnings rather than need.

SSI disability beneficiaries are also held to income limits that involve all kinds of income. If their income exceeds their monthly income limit, they will not be entitled to receive a SSI benefit for that month.

SSI beneficiaries often end up with overpayments because they are not timely in reporting work earnings or other income. Social Security disability beneficiaries have no income limits per say; however they are affected by work activity. Social Security beneficiaries should be careful about their work earnings. Their disability benefits could be suspended or even terminated due to work activity.

Lastly, health insurance coverage is different for the two disability programs. Social Security disability beneficiaries must wait two years from the month they are entitled to receive their monthly disability check to receive Medicare coverage. By contrast, SSI disability beneficiaries receive Medicaid benefits immediately.

Some Social Security disability beneficiaries with low disability monthly benefit amounts are able to receive Medicaid and Medicare simultaneously once they are entitled to receive it. However, the vast majority of Social Security disability beneficiaries have a two year medicare waiting period before they receive the benefits of Medicare insurance.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

What is the difference between Social Security disability and SSI?
Differnces between SSD and SSI
The Difference Between Social Security Disability and SSI Involves Work Activity
Similarities between Social Security Disability and SSI and differences
The chances of winning with a Social Security disability judge
Tips for SSD and SSI disability hearings

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria