Can I Apply for SSI If My SSDI Application Was Rejected?

As we’ve covered in the past, applying for social security is no easy task. If you thought applying for jobs or colleges was difficult, it’s not about to get easier. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, if your application is denied like so many others, that doesn’t have to be the end of your story. So what about the differences between SSI, and SSDI? If it doesn’t work out in one arena, might switching to the other be a potential fix?


SSI and SSDI sound similar, but they’re really not. SSI refers to Supplemental Security Income, whereas SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. People can get confused between the two, which is understandable: both offer monetary assistance, both are Federal programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and both tend to be associated with the elderly and the physically impaired. On the surface, at least, it makes a degree of sense two lump them together.

However, the programs are programs, and not a program, for a reason. They may cater to similar audiences from a health and ability standpoint, but they make an important financial distinction. SSI is need-based; SSDI is not. On their official website, the SSA provides a succinct definition for each program, which makes it easy to spot where they don’t overlap: to be eligible for SSI, “a disabled or blind adult or child must have limited income” and “limited resources.” To be eligible for SSDI, conversely, an individual “must have paid Social Security taxes to become insured for benefits.” To go over the SSDI income limits in Pennsylvania, talk to our Philadelphia disability attorneys today for a free consultation.

Senior couple looking concerned with bills and laptop

The SSI Application Process

If your application to receive SSDI has been rejected, it does not make much sense for you to apply to receive SSI instead. Granted, there are cases where somebody may successfully apply to receive concurrent benefits. But in general, beginning the application process anew for a different program entirely is only going to set you back considerably in terms of time and energy.

Applying for any sort of social security is statistically geared to result in rejection, and if or when that occurs, the most logical next step is not to start over, but to appeal the decision. The appeals process can take up to four steps: reconsideration, appeal hearing, review, and Federal district court hearing. You’ll be presenting your case with one strike already set against you from your previous rejection — don’t go it alone.

Our Philadelphia and Bucks County Disability Lawyers Can Help

Retaining legal counsel is strongly recommended if you plan to appeal: something was wrong or inadequate with your original application, and if you attempt to resubmit without making changes, it’s likely to be dismissed a second time. A seasoned Philadelphia social security attorney knows the ins and outs of the deliberately abstruse application and appeals process, and can help to ensure you don’t miss a critical check-box or document. Contact Young, Marr & Associates now to explore your options.