Personal Injury Laywers
San Diego

Talk to an attorney

Our Monthly Law Lesson – May

You Have Questions. We Have Answers.

Client Question of the Month:

What is the Difference Between SSI and SSDI?

SSI, otherwise known as Supplemental Security Income, is a monthly stipend paid by the U.S. Government Treasury and is provided to disabled, aged, or blind persons based on need. While there are some exceptions, in order to qualify for SSI benefits, you must not have assets that are worth more than $2,000 (for singles) or $3,000 (for couples).

On the other hand, SSDI, otherwise known as Social Security Disability Insurance, is a federal insurance program of the U.S. Government that is managed by the Social Security Administration and funded by a payroll tax. SSDI is designed to provide funds to people who are unable to work due to a disability. In order to qualify for these monetary benefits, you must have worked five of the last 10 years — though there are some exceptions to this rule.

While SSI and SSDI are fundamentally similar, there are three main distinctions that set them apart.


First of all, the amount of money dispersed is usually different depending on the type of disability benefits you are receiving. Under SSI, you receive the Federal Government supplement and, depending on the state in which you live, might also be able to receive a state supplement, as well. Additionally, with SSI, the amount of money can fluctuate annually depending on the cost of living changes. With SSDI, the amounts are based on how much you’ve earned over the past 10 years.


Under SSI, an injured or disabled claimant can only seek retroactive benefits that have accrued from the moment he or she filed the application. Under SSDI benefits, however, a claimant can receive retroactive benefits involving money up to 12 months prior to the application date. Although there are not back-pay incentives for seeking disability benefits beyond what a claimant can receive benefits
for, other considerations may warrant going back further.


Under SSI, a Californian found disabled will receive Medi-Cal. Under SSDI benefits, a person will qualify for Medicare after having been found disabled for two years. If a person qualifies for both SSI and SSDI, they will be automatically given Medi-Medi which is a combination of both Medi-Cal and Medicare- this is provided to them whether they choose it or not.

Even with this helpful information, the team at Jorgensen Law understands how complex this process can be. If you want any follow-up information, don’t hesitate to fill out our free evaluation form online or give our office a call!

Download the newsletter here!