How do I know if I might qualify for SSI vs SSDI?
To qualify for either of these programs, you must have a physical or mental impairment expected to last for a year or more that severely limits your ability to work. Both programs are under the Social Security Administration (SSA), and share a specific definition of disability based on your ability to work for pay or profit:
- Under age 18: You are disabled if you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in marked and severe functional limitations and can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
- Age 18 and over: You are disabled if you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that results in the inability to engage in any Substantial Gainful Activity and can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.*
- Substantial Gainful Activity – $1,350/month (2022)
- Visit Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?
SSI is a safety net program available to people who are aged (65+), blind, or disabled (based on the SSA definition), and have a very limited income and assets. To qualify, your income and assets must be below a specific annual amount, which changes every year.
SSDI is available to people who are disabled and unable to engage in their occupation or other substantial work. To qualify, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes.
NOTE: Adults who are qualified as disabled since before the age of 22 can qualify on a parent’s Social Security record once the parent collects due to death, disability or reaching full retirement age.”