Whatever Your Circumstances Are, Help Is Here.

Differences between SSDI and SSI

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2021 | Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income

The Social Security Administration offers two different disability programs for New Jersey residents who can qualify before the standard retirement age. Those are Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. They are typically known as SSDI and SSI within the system. Qualifying for either program differs significantly, but everyone is evaluated for SSDI first before they are considered for SSI. Not everyone who cannot qualify for SSDI will qualify for SSI, but many can prepare for qualification by making personal asset changes if necessary. The rules for qualification are as follows.


SSDI is awarded to those who can prove that a disability keeps them from maintaining substantive gainful employment. It is not necessary to be completely unable to work even though the Social Security Administration only issues permanent awards for SSDI. Additionally, not having a condition that is recognized in the SSA Blue Book can still result in an award when there are other impacting medical conditions considered in the totality of circumstances.

Applicants must have a total of 40 quarterly work credits with 20 of those credits earned in the past 10 years. Credits are allowed for each $1,470 earned per quarter, and the first $5,880 of the year can suffice for all four annual credits.


Applicants who cannot qualify for SSDI are then evaluated for SSI, which is means tested. Single applicants must have no more than $2,000 in personal assets aside from allowable exemptions. Those exemptions include owning a single home and having one vehicle of significant value. Married couples can have no more than $3,500 in assets. Additionally, SSI is awarded in one- to three-year increments; reevaluation by the state disability office is common to establish continued eligibility.

These are just the primary differences between the two government disability programs. Medical disability proof procedures are the same for both programs.

FindLaw Network