Difference Between Ssdi Ssi - Hensley Legal Group, PC

Indianapolis, IN Social Security Lawyers

Understanding the Difference Between SSDI & SSI

The State of Indiana offers Social Security disability benefits for the aged and disabled who are in need of financial support. There are two disability benefit programs available for Hoosiers:

  1. Social Security disability insurance (SSDI)
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

While both of these programs are designed to provide disability benefits, they are very different from each other. On this page, we will explain the benefits, eligibility requirements for SSDI and SSI, and highlight the differences between both programs.

Hensley Legal Group’s Indianapolis Social Security disability attorneys can help you have a clear understanding how these programs work, and determine which is the most appropriate option for you. Please call (317) 526-1440 for more information specific to your case.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is a program funded by Social Security taxes. This program provides financial assistance to those who are unable to work due to a disability that is expected to last longer than 12 months. Eligibility requirements are based on the age at the time of injury, the circumstances of your injury, and the qualifying work history of yourself or your spouse.

Monthly payments are determined by the recipient’s work history and the amount of FICA taxes paid. As of April 2021, the average monthly payment for SSDI benefits is roughly $1,146 per person. Once approved for the SSDI benefits, Hoosiers automatically qualify for Medicare after a 24-month waiting period from the time the benefits begin.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, applicants must:

  • Suffer a severe disability, and;
  • Have qualified work credits

One of our Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyers can help you evaluate your work history and medical condition(s) to determine whether the SSDI program is right for you. Contact us to find out what you are entitled to.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that provides financial assistance to the aged, blind, and disabled who have limited or no income. The SSI program is funded by general taxes and is distributed according to the individual’s income and assets.

This program offers a determined amount of money to adults or children who fall under one of these categories:

  • Age (65+)
  • Blind (any age), or;
  • Disabled (any age)

To qualify for SSI benefits, a recipient must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Having a limited income or no income whatsoever (earned/unearned/in-kind/deemed income)
  • Meeting the asset requirements, and;
  • Being a US citizen, a national of the US, or an eligible alien

The income limits of the SSI program are determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, when calculating your income level, there is some income that the SSA may not count. The SSA defines income in both cash and non-cash assets.

Understanding what is classed as income and what is excluded can greatly affect your eligibility for the SSI benefit. As of April 2021, the average monthly payment for SSI benefits is about $586/person.

An experienced Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer with Hensley Legal Group can explain what is classified as income, what are countable assets, and what is excluded. Our legal team can help you determine what benefits may be eligible for and assist you with the application process.

What’s the Difference? 

Similarities of the SSDI and SSI programs are that they both provide assistance for the disabled, applications for both programs are filed with the SSA, and they use the same medical screening criteria. However, that is the limit to what they have in common.

Understanding the differences between the programs can help you determine the most appropriate option for you. Below is a summary of the differences between SSDI and SSI benefits.

Comparison of SSDI and SSI benefits

Funded by Social Security taxes General taxes
Eligibility requirements
  • Suffering a severe disability expected to last more than 12 months AND
  • Having qualified work credits


  • Age (65+) OR
  • Suffering blindness OR
  • Suffering a disability AND
  • Having a limited/no income
  • Meeting the asset requirements
  • A US citizen, a national of the US, or an eligible alien
Average benefit (monthly) $1,146/person (April 2021) $586/person (April 2021)
Maximum benefit (monthly)

SSA Statistics 2021


(based on work history)

$794/person$1,191/married couple

(based on income)

Asset requirements N/A Less than $2,000/single ORLess than $3,000/married couple
Payments begin In the 6th full month of disability

after SSDI approval

In the 1st full month after the date the claim was filed or SSI-approved
Health insurance Automatically qualifies for Medicare after a 24-month waiting period from time benefits begin
Automatically qualifies for Medicaid upon receipt of SSI

Why the difference matters

Although both programs are different, some individuals may qualify for both. The team at Hensley Legal Group can help you prepare the proper documentation and file your application within the required time frames. Contact us to find out what Social Security disability benefits are available to you.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Applications for SSI or SSDI can be submitted online via the Social Security Administration’s website, or you can contact them via phone. You will need to submit an application for Social Security benefits and submit a Disability Report.

Information required for the initial application includes the following:

  • Social Security number
  • Birth certificate or baptismal certificate
  • Medical records that relate to your disability
  • Summary of your work history
  • A copy of your most recent W-2 Form, or
  • A copy of your most recent federal tax return if you are self-employed

It is advisable to have complete medical records before you apply, as the Social Security Administration (SSA) may require additional documentation to support your claim.

The application process for Social Security disability benefits is time-consuming, so patience is needed. It can take about 3 to 5 months for the SSA to respond, and 68 percent of initial applications are denied. Currently, the average wait time for Indianapolis residents is 13 months.

Our Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyers have the knowledge and resources to avoid the common mistakes that often result in denied applications.

What Our Social Security Disability Lawyers Can Do For You

At Hensley Legal Group, we are dedicated to helping those in a tough situation who need support to deal with their disabilities. We have the strength to make a difference in the lives of those who are injured and disabled.

Whether you are applying for the first time, reapplying after a denial, or appealing a rejected claim, our lawyers are here to help. Our experienced attorneys know how the system works and can significantly increase your odds of getting approved. We are here to make the process easier so that you can focus on caring for your physical and emotional needs.

We want to make it easier for Hoosiers across the State of Indiana to reach us. We understand that not everyone is financially or physically able to meet with an attorney in downtown Indianapolis, so we will gladly come to you! Contact us today to schedule a home or virtual visit.