Attorney helping client file disability claim

Disability Advocates Group of Florida is focused on serving disabled individuals throughout the following areas in Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa, and Tallahassee. We have experience with Social Security benefit programs and a proven history of helping our clients obtain the benefits they deserve. 

Whether you are filing an initial claim or need assistance with a disability appeal, we will provide you with compassionate representation and dependable service. When you become our client, our disability attorneys are here to help you. There are differences between filing for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which we will explore in further detail here. 

Key Differences between SSI and SSDI in Florida

SSI and SSDI are both programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States, but they serve different populations and have different eligibility requirements. Here are some differences:


Determining eligibility is the first step for both programs, but the criteria are different.

  • SSI: This is a needs-based program, meaning eligibility is based on financial need. Applicants must have a limited household income and few countable resources to qualify. Your work history does not matter and you do not need to earn work credits. You can qualify if you are disabled, 65 or over, or blind.
  • SSDI: This is an insurance program that workers pay into over their working lives by way of  Social Security taxes. Eligibility is based on a person’s work history and the amount of Social Security credits they’ve earned.

Medical Criteria

You must meet certain medical standards to qualify for both SSI and SSDI.  These standards include:

  • 1) Not engaging in substantial gainful activity which is defined in 2023 as earning at least $1,470 per month or $2,460 if blind.
  • 2) Having an impairment included in the “Blue Book” (Social Security’s listing of impairments that qualify you for benefits) and exhibiting the required symptoms of your impairment or having a condition similar in severity and impairment level.
  • 3) Having a disability that significantly interferes with your life and renders you unable to do any job you’re qualified for.
  • 4) Having a disability that has lasted or will last for a year or will end in your death.

Remember, for both programs, valid and supporting medical evidence is a necessity.

Financial Support

The nature of financial assistance varies between the two programs.

  • SSI: Provides financial assistance based on need, so the amount of money you receive may be affected by other income or resources you have.
  • SSDI: The benefit amount is based on your earnings history, not your current financial situation.

Asset Limit

There are certain limitations in what you can own for SSI. 

  • SSI: You must have limited assets to qualify (typically, less than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple).
  • SSDI: There is no asset limit, but there is an earnings limit to maintain eligibility.

Health Insurance

Both programs offer pathways to health insurance, but the routes differ.

  • SSI: Typically leads to Medicaid eligibility.
  • SSDI: After 24 months of receiving SSDI benefits, you are eligible for Medicare.

Waiting Period

The waiting duration for receiving benefits isn’t uniform across the board.

  • SSI: Payments can start as early as the month after application and approval.
  • SSDI: There is a five-month waiting period from the date of disability onset. Your first benefit will be paid in the sixth full month after the date your disability began.

Work History

Your work history plays different roles in these programs.

  • SSI: No work history is needed to qualify.
  • SSDI: You need a sufficient number of work credits, and some of these credits must have been earned recently.

Funding Source

Where the funds for these programs originate also differ.

  • SSI: Funded through general tax revenues.
  • SSDI: Funded through Social Security taxes collected from workers.

Age and Children

Age considerations play a role, especially for SSDI.

  • SSI: Available to people of any age, including children who are disabled.
  • SSDI: Generally for people who are below full retirement age.

Amount of Benefits Paid Out

Finally, the payouts for these programs aren’t identical.

  • SSI: Benefits are set by statute and are $914 for an eligible individual or $1,371 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse as of 2023. Some people receive less than this if they have other income that is counted.
  • SSDI benefits are based on your work history and you receive a percentage of average earnings over your career, up to a maximum of $3,627 per month. As a result, the benefits you can receive from SSDI tend to be higher than those received from SSI (depending how much you earned).

Applying for SSDI or SSI in Florida? Contact Disability Advocates Group Today to Learn More

As you can see, both programs can provide critical financial support and health insurance benefits to individuals who are disabled, but the eligibility criteria and benefits are quite different. If you are in Florida and believe you may be eligible for either program, contact the Disability Advocates Group.  The attorneys in our practice specialize in disability law. We are firmly committed to assisting individuals living with disabilities to acquire the SSI or SSDI benefits they rightfully require and deserve.