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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) & Supplemental Security Income (SSI):  The Two Primary “Flavors” of Disability Benefits

SSDI and SSI Compared: The Same in Some Ways, Different in Others

 DIBSSI
Definition of "Disability"Inability to Do Any Work. See here
Application and Appeal ProcessThe same. See here
Work RequirementYES. Fully insured status based upon payroll Taxes paid (work credits)NO. No work history is required.
Needs RequirementNO. SSDI benefits are not based upon "need". A billionaire who has paid social security taxes and is unable to do any work and can qualify for SSDI.YES. Must be basically indigent: more more than $2000 in "resources" or bringing on more than $735/month means your don't "need" SSI.
Medical CoverageMedicare after 24 months of entitement to disability benefitsMedicaid starting with month after disability
Retroactive BenefitsNo more than 1 year prior to the date of disability applicationNo benefits payable prior to date of SSI application.