What is SSI?  What is SSDI?

The Social Security administers two programs to pay disabled people. One is SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the other is “regular” Social Security, or SSDI. There is a lot of confusion about these two programs in the mind of the public. The difference is simple.

The SSI program is an just an entitlement program, paid to people who have no work record, or no work history during the past five years. There is an asset limitation and a household income limitation for eligibility as well. There is immediate state Medicaid coverage with this program.

The regular disability program (SSDI) pays a claimant based on the money paid into Social Security during his or her work life. The amount is determined by how much has been paid in, divided by years of life expectancy. Payments may also be sent to a spouse and children. Eligibility includes Medicare two years after onset date.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever dealt with Social Security to know that claims are routinely denied at the initial level. About 65% are denied at this first level, and many people do not appeal because they are worn down by the system and become discouraged. it is extremely important to file each appeal on time!

Claims need to be carefully monitored to make sure the necessary appeals are filed within 60 days of denial. A claim that has to be re-filed rather than appealed could result in substantial loss of back benefit payments. A lawyer or other advocate is very helpful and could result in a larger back benefit payment.


There is no charge by our firm for initial consultation. Attorney’s fees are not charged unless and until a claim is successful. Fees are approved by Social Security to make sure they are fair. The fee is usually 25% of any past due benefit received by the claimant, although in some cases a minimum fee is charged