The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs are the largest of several federal government programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. Although these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.
SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are insured—meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSI pays benefits based on financial need.
When you apply for either program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will collect medical and other information from you and make a decision about whether you meet Social Security’s definition of disability.
If your application has recently been denied, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of the SSA’s decision about your eligibility for disability benefits.
If your application is denied for:
• Medical reasons—you can complete and submit the required Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report online. The disability report asks you for updated information about your medical condition and any treatment, tests, or doctor visits since the SSA made its decision.
• Non-medical reasons—you should contact your local Social Security Office to request the review. You also may call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to request an appeal. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call the toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
What are Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?
Social Security's Disability Insurance Benefits are federally funded and administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security pays disability benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long enough and have a medical condition that prevents you from working for at least 12 months or is expected to end in death.
Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?
To qualify for disability benefits, you must:
• Be unable to work because you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
• Not have a partial or short-term disability.
• Meet SSA’s definition of a disability.
• Be younger than your full retirement age.
If you qualify for disability benefits, certain members of your family may be eligible to receive benefits based on your work record.
Who Is Eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). The SSI program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits are also payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. And people who have worked long enough may be able to receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits as well as SSI.
SSI is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.