Social Security Disability Insurance vs. Social Security Income

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI) differ in their qualification requirements, their monthly pay averages, when benefits begin, and which medical insurance recipients qualify for. Both benefit programs are administered by the Social Security Administration, but they differ widely between these categories.

Generally, SSDI is for people who have a long enough work history, while SSI is based on financial need. SSDI pays more, but it takes longer to receive benefits and to become eligible for government health insurance. 

If you are 62 and questioning whether or not you should claim your Social Security benefits early, you should check to see if you qualify for assistance through either of these programs. Claiming your benefits earlier than your retirement age will reduce your benefit for the rest of your life, so receiving assistance from SSDI or SSI in the meantime will help keep you afloat without reducing the benefits you will be receiving beyond age 67. 

Qualifying for SSDI and SSI

SSI eligibility is based on your age or disability and your financial need. You must have a low income and limited resources to be accepted for SSI, which generally has a lower acceptance rate than SSDI. The current requirements accept people with a limited income and less than $2,000 in assets for individuals or less than $3,000 in assets for couples.

SSDI eligibility is based on your disability and work history. People receiving benefits through SSDI will have had sufficient work credits or have a spouse or parent who has sufficient work credits. Generally, these are credits for each calendar quarter when you worked and paid taxes to Social Security. These same work credits determine your eligibility for Social Security benefits and premium-free Medicare Part A.

Payments from SSDI and SSI

The average benefit payments made out to people receiving SSI are at an amount around $577. The maximum benefit amount an individual can receive each month with SSI is $794. A married couple can receive benefits up to $1,191 with SSI.

The average benefit payments made out to people receiving SSDI are around $1,128. The maximum monthly benefit a person receiving SSDI can receive is $3,148 in 2021.

Receiving Benefits from SSDI and SSI

Benefits from SSI begin the 1st full month after the date your claim was filed or the date you became eligible for SSI, if later.

Benefits from SSDI begin six months after the program decides your disability began. This six month count starts the first full month after the date your disability began.

Acceptance can take three to five months for these programs.

Health Insurance for SSDI and SSI Recipients

SSI recipients are eligible for Medicaid automatically with receipt of SSI in most states.

SSDI recipients can receive Medicare benefits after 24 months of receiving SSDI benefits. People with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can automatically begin receiving Medicare benefits as soon as they are approved for SSDI benefits.

Need Help Securing SSDI or SSI Benefits?

Contact Texas Medicare Advisors with your questions about Social Security benefits.