The Difference Between SSDI and SSI Benefits

Going through the disability application process, you may come across several terms with multi-letter acronyms. That gets confusing fast. How do you know the difference between SSD and SSI and SSA? Fortunately, our Social Security/Disability lawyers are here to give a simple breakdown of the terms – and what they stand for – so the next time you encounter them you can stay informed. Knowing the terms ahead of time can help you ask the right questions of your legal team or avoid a costly delay in receiving benefits. Yes, it’s that important.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

ssd141 - The Difference Between SSDI and SSI Benefits

Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a need-based financial assistance program maintained by the federal government. Of course, the funds come from general taxpayer dollars, which means all those paying federal taxes pay into the program whether they want to, or not. SSI is a “means tested” program, meaning you must possess $2,000 or less in total assets and earn a very limited income. Qualifying for SSI may not mean you’re eligible for other forms of aid, though limited finances generally make it easier to obtain food stamps, insurance through Medicaid, and other assistance programs operated at the state level.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

SSD or SSDI benefits come from the Social Security Administration funded through payroll taxes across the nation. Everyone who pays taxes from working contributes to the fund and may access it upon obtaining sufficient work credits and meeting other eligibility criteria, including suffering from a condition that limits their functional capacity for at least 12 months. After receiving benefits from Social Security Disability for two years, you may become eligible for health coverage under Medicare.   

This type of assistance is technically a form of insurance because every worker in the United States with sufficient working credits is “covered” under the plan. If you meet the criteria, you may begin receiving regular payments after the five-month waiting period has expired. The federal government imposes this waiting period for obtaining benefits on everyone – no exceptions. However, once payments begin, the first is usually a lump sum backdated to the original date of injury or qualifying illness, which can help you recover from any short-term financial consequences of going without aid.

Exceptions to Waiting Periods

ssd241 - The Difference Between SSDI and SSI Benefits

Did we say no exceptions? As always, there are circumstances that allow you to claim SSD benefits without a five-month waiting period. For example, if you were receiving payments from Social Security Disability, went back to work, only to become disabled once more, you won’t have to wait another five months. In addition, if you apply for benefits as the child of someone who is disabled, you won’t be subject to the waiting period.

Knowing the difference in these terms and how to apply them can be difficult. Hiring a team of seasoned legal professionals to handle your application for disability benefits can increase your chances for first-time approval, and provide you with a knowledgeable resource as your application moves forward. If you’re hurt, and cannot work, call our attorneys today to get the help you really need.

Our Results

Our attorneys have successfully helped thousands of satisfied clients across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To see how our attorneys can help you, click below. See What We Can Do

  • Speak To An Attorney For Free

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Awards & Recognitions

Best Pennsylvania Law Firm Near Me
Best New Jersey Law Firm Near Me
Best Philadelphia and Bucks County Lawyers
Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer
Pennsylvania and New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer
Pennsylvania and New Jersey Disability SSDI Lawyer
Bucks County Criminal Defense Attorney
Best Pennsylvania Law Firm Near Me
Pennsylvania and NJ Lawyers Near Me
Pennsylvania and NJ Attorneys Near Me
Pennsylvania and NJ Lawyer Near Me
Pennsylvania and NJ Attorney Near Me

13 Convenient Office Locations

map-pinPennsylvania Offices map-pinNew Jersey Offices


328 W Broad St
Quakertown, PA 18951
Tel: (215) 515-6876
Get Directions

Plymouth Meeting

600 West Germantown Pike #400
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Tel: (215) 515-6876
Get Directions


44 E Court Street #100
Doylestown, PA 18901
Tel: (215) 515-6876
Get Directions


10000 Lincoln Drive E, Suite 201
One Greentree Centre
Marlton, NJ 08053
Tel: (856) 213-2805
Get Directions


7909 Bustleton Ave, First Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19152
Tel: (215) 607-2715
Get Directions


3554 Hulmeville Rd, #102
Bensalem, PA 19020
Tel: (215) 515-6389
Get Directions

Bala Cynwyd

2 Bala Plaza, Suite 300
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Tel: (610) 557-3209
Get Directions


909 Route 130 South, Suite 202
Cinnaminson, NJ 08077
Tel: (609) 796-4344
Get Directions


135 Old York Road
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Tel: (215) 544-3347
Get Directions


137 N 5th St, Suite A
Allentown, PA 18102
Tel: (215) 240-4082
Get Directions


101 Larry Holmes Dr, #212
Easton, PA 18042
Tel: (215) 515-7077
Get Directions

Hamilton Twp.

3525 Quakerbridge Rd, #903
Hamilton Township, NJ 08619
Tel: (609) 236-8649
Get Directions


371 Hoes Lane, Suite 200
Piscataway Township, NJ 08854
Tel: (908) 367-7256
Get Directions