Skip to Content

SSI vs. SSDI: Who Is Eligible?

Serving Families Throughout Bend
older couple watering plants smiling

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are two of the most common federal programs from the Social Security Administration. The goal of these programs is similar - to provide assistance for disabled individuals and senior citizens. However, there are eligibility differences between the two programs.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI provides financial assistance to low-income elderly individuals and individuals of any age who have qualifying disabilities.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI also provides support for individuals with disabilities who have qualifying work credits.

What is a work credit?

Work credits are determined based on the individual’s yearly income. For example, each time you earn $1,470, you gain one work credit. The maximum amount of work credits you can accrue each year is four. Generally speaking, in order to qualify for SSDI, you must have 40 work credits or ten years of work experience within the past 20 years. It is also important to note that work credits typically expire within 3-5 years of whenever you stop working.

Eligibility Criteria

While both programs aim to provide assistance to those who have limited means, they have different requirements for eligibility.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

To qualify for SSI, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 65 years of age or older
  • Have a qualifying disability at any age
  • Have low/no income

SSI has a resources limit of $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. This means that to be eligible for assistance, you cannot have more than this amount of cash or assets available. Learn more about what counts as a ‘resource’ here.

You may qualify for SSI if your disability:

  • Prevents you from doing any substantial activity
  • May ultimately result in death
  • Has lasted for at least one year
  • Is expected to last for over one year

Social Security Disability Insurance

To qualify for SSDI, the eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • You must suffer from a qualifying disability
  • You must be under 65 years old
  • You must have enough work credits (~40)

If you are relatively young, the work credits requirement may be decreased in order for you to obtain the SSDI benefits.

Can you qualify for both?

Yes! If you meet the criteria for both SSI and SSDI, you can apply for both assistance programs.

However, if you make over $1,310 a month, you are not eligible for either program.

Bend Oregon Attorneys

At Baxter Law, LLC, we are here to help you plan for your future. If you have any more questions about SSI, SSDI, or are starting to think about estate planning, contact us today.