Social Security: SSDI and SSI explained

The Social Security Administration runs various programs including their Social Security Disability Insurance, SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income, SSI, programs.

social security cards with cash representing benefits like SSI and SSDI

These programs are designed to give necessary funding to individuals with disabilities.

The SSA outlines everything you need to know to apply on their FAQ page.


SSDI and the Ticket to Work Program

Rundown of disability benefits like SSDI and SSI

SSDI gives benefits to you and certain family members who are insured.

Insured means you’ve worked long and recent enough to have paid Social Security taxes on any income you made.

SSI gives funding to adults and kids with disabilities and limited income and resources.

The programs are different but medical requirements are the same.


SSI and SSDI differences explained

SSI and SSDI application process

You can apply online, over the phone, or in person.

The same steps are followed no matter which way you apply.

You’ll gather all documentation necessary, which can be found here.

Then, you submit your application which will be reviewed to see you meet basic requirements.

Your work history is verified for qualification.


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Your current work is evaluated.

The application is then processed and sent to the Disability Determination Services office for your state and a decision is made.

You’ll receive the decision by mail.

You can check the status of your application in your My Social Security account.

How to appeal a decision made on SSDI and SSI

You can appeal a decision made you do not agree with.

Your appeal must be submitted in writing within 60 days of being notified of the decision.

The four levels of appeal are

  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing before an administrative law judge
  • Review by Social Security’s Appeals Council
  • Review by the federal court