Understanding the Difference Between SSDI and SSI

SSI and SSDI are both federal disability programs, but they are not the same. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based program aimed at helping aged, blind, and disabled individuals with little to no income, providing cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an insurance program that benefits individuals who have a disability and have paid into the Social Security system through prior work. 

If you are disabled and unable to work, you may be eligible for either SSDI or SSI (or both). Unfortunately, obtaining these benefits can be challenging and many people are denied their rightful benefits on their initial application. Disabled people who believe that they are eligible for SSDI and/or SSI should contact an experienced lawyer to guide them through the process.

Mark L. Newman, Attorney at Law, helps clients receive both SSDI and SSI benefits in Ohio. He will do everything in his power to make sure that you obtain all the benefits you are legally entitled to receive. Call (513) 533-2009 or reach out online to schedule a consultation today.

Ohio SSDI Lawyer

What’s the Difference Between SSI and SSDI? 

As mentioned above, SSI and SSDI are similar in that they are both federally funded programs (paid by the Social Security Administration) that provide financial assistance to individuals with certain disabilities. However, there are several important differences between the two. 

The main difference between SSI and SSDI lies in their eligibility criteria and funding sources. SSI pays benefits to aid aged, blind, and disabled individuals who have limited income and resources, regardless of their work history. It is funded from general tax revenues. 

On the other hand, SSDI is available to individuals who have a sufficient work history and have paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes. SSDI benefits are essentially insurance that workers earn through their contributions.

Other key differences between the two programs are the benefits provided and associated programs. SSDI recipients are eligible for Medicare after a two-year waiting period from the date of entitlement to SSDI benefits. SSI recipients may be eligible for Medicaid coverage immediately, depending on the state’s laws. 

Filing For Disability in Ohio

To initiate your disability claim, you can file online through the Social Security Administration’s website, call the SSA’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local Social Security office in Ohio. When filing, you’ll need to provide personal information, employment history, and medical records. These records serve as the foundation of your claim, offering concrete evidence of your disability status.

Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the Ohio Division of Disability Determination, which makes decisions on disability claims based on the medical evidence provided. It’s not uncommon for initial claims to be denied, but you have the right to appeal the decision.


What Ohio Disability Benefits You Are Entitled To

Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) offer essential financial support, but each depends on the individual’s work history, current income, and financial needs. Understanding the difference between these two types of federal benefits is crucial for determining which benefits you may be entitled to and how to maximize them.

SSDI Benefits

Social Security Disability benefits depend on an individual’s work history and what they have contributed to the Social Security system through payroll taxes. The SSDI benefit amount is based on the individual’s average earnings prior to the disability. As such, the average monthly benefit for SSDI recipients can vary significantly, but it is designed to replace a portion of the beneficiary’s pre-disability earnings.

Here are some other important notes regarding SSDI benefits:

  • An SSDI recipient’s spouse and minor children are entitled to receive partial dependent benefits. 
  • There is a five-month waiting period from the date you are found disabled before benefits begin. 
  • After you receive SSDI for two years, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits.

SSI Benefits

SSI payments are reserved for individuals who have limited income and resources and may not have a significant work history or have never worked. SSI benefits are not based on past earnings but rather are designed to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The federal government determines the maximum monthly payment, which is subject to change yearly based on cost-of-living adjustments. In 2024, the maximum monthly SSI is set at $943 for an individual and $1,415 for a couple. 

Other things to note regarding SSI benefits include:

  • SSI eligibility considers other monthly income and resources, meaning that any additional income can affect the monthly SSI payment amount.
  • SSI benefits begin on the first day of the month when you file your application. 
  • SSI recipients are entitled to Medicaid benefits immediately.

Ohio Disability Requirements

The difference between SSI vs. SSDI can be difficult to understand. If you apply for the wrong type of benefits, your application may be denied, or you may receive smaller payments than you are entitled to. 

The medical standard of disability is the same for both programs. The primary difference is that SSDI benefits are for individuals who have accumulated sufficient work credits, and SSI is for low-income individuals who have never worked or haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. Below, we’ll go into further detail regarding the requirements for receiving SSDI vs. SSI.

Social Security Disability Insurance Requirements

  • Qualifying Disability: The individual must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability, which is a condition that is severe enough to prevent one from performing any substantial gainful activity and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
  • Paid Social Security Taxes: The individual must have a work history where they made contributions to the Social Security trust fund, often reflected in FICA deductions on their paycheck. These contributions fund the SSDI program.
  • Work Credits: SSDI eligibility is based on the number of work credits an individual has earned (by working and paying Social Security taxes). The number of credits needed depends on the age at which the individual becomes disabled, typically requiring 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year the disability began.
  • Approved Claim: To begin receiving SSDI payments, the individual must have filed an application and had their disability claim approved by the Social Security Administration, following a thorough review process that includes medical evidence and, sometimes, a disability interview.
  • Continuing Eligibility: SSDI recipients must continue to meet the disability criteria. The Social Security Administration conducts periodic reviews of the recipient’s medical condition to ensure that they still qualify as disabled according to the program’s guidelines.

Supplemental Security Income Requirements

  • Age or Disability: Applicants must be either aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled according to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability for adults or children.
  • Limited Income: SSI eligibility requires individuals to have limited income. The SSA considers various forms of income, including wages, pensions, and more, when determining eligibility.
  • Limited Resources: Applicants must also have limited financial resources (less than $2,000 in assets or $3,000 per couple). This includes things like cash, bank accounts, property, and other assets. Certain assets, like a primary residence and one vehicle for transportation, are typically excluded from this consideration.
  • U.S. Residency: Applicants must be residents of the United States, and be either citizens or in certain categories of non-citizen status that the SSA recognizes for SSI eligibility.
  • Approved Application: Individuals must apply for SSI benefits and provide the necessary documentation to support their claim, including proof of age, disability, income, and resources.
  • Consent to Allow the SSA to Access Financial Records: Applicants must give the SSA permission to access their financial accounts to confirm eligibility related to income and resources.
  • No Fleeing Felon Status: Applicants may not be fleeing felons or violating a condition of probation or parole.
  • Applying for Other Benefits: Applicants must apply for any other cash benefits for which they might be eligible, such as Social Security retirement or disability benefits, since SSI is often considered a program of last resort.
Ohio SSI Lawyer

Call Cincinnati SSI/SSDI Attorney Mark L. Newman Today!

If you are looking to receive SSI or SSDI (or both SSI and SSDI) and your claim was initially denied, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Fortunately, Mark L. Newman is a renowned Cincinnati Social Security disability lawyer and can help you determine whether you are eligible for SSDI and/or SSI benefits and help ensure you receive them. Call today!

Get The Legal Help You Need

Call (513) 533-2009 today or reach out online to schedule your free consultation. We do not charge attorney fees unless your Social Security claim is granted and you receive benefits.

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Mark L. Newman Attorney at Law

3074 Madison Road Suite 2N
Cincinnati, OH 45209
Phone: (513) 533-2009
Fax: (513) 991-6439


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