attorney and client going over a ssdi/ssi document, showing hands and pen only.
By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Navigating the complexities of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be challenging, especially when it comes to the hearing stage. If you are in Florida and facing a disability, it’s crucial to understand the differences between SSDI hearings and SSI hearings to ensure you have the best chance of receiving the benefits you deserve. Disability Advocates Group is here to shed light on these differences and provide expert guidance through the hearing process.

SSDI Hearings vs. SSI Hearings in Florida

  1. Eligibility Criteria

The primary difference between SSDI and SSI is the eligibility criteria:

a) SSDI: SSDI benefits are available to individuals who have paid Social Security taxes and have accumulated enough work credits over their employment history. To qualify, you must have a severe medical impairment that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death.

b) SSI: SSI benefits, on the other hand, are available to individuals with limited income and resources, regardless of their work history. To qualify for SSI, you must meet the financial requirements, have a disabling condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability, and have limited income and resources.

  1. Funding Source

Another key difference is the source of funding for these programs:

a) SSDI: SSDI is funded through payroll taxes, with contributions made by workers and employers.

b) SSI: SSI is funded through general tax revenues, providing financial support to individuals with limited income and resources.

  1. Benefit Amounts

Benefit amounts differ between SSDI and SSI:

a) SSDI: Benefit amounts under SSDI are based on the individual’s previous earnings and the number of work credits earned.

b) SSI: SSI benefits are set by the federal government and are adjusted annually. The amount can vary based on the recipient’s living arrangements and countable income.

  1. Disability Definition

Both SSDI and SSI require individuals to meet the SSA’s definition of disability:

a) SSDI: To qualify for SSDI, you must have a medical condition that prevents you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death.

b) SSI: SSI follows the same definition of disability as SSDI, but it also takes into account financial need and resource limitations.

  1. Hearing Process

The hearing process for SSDI and SSI claims is generally similar:

a) Request for Hearing: If your initial SSDI or SSI application is denied, you have the right to request a hearing to appeal the decision.

b) Hearing Scheduling: The SSA will schedule a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to review your case.

c) Presentation of Evidence: During the hearing, you or your representative from Disability Advocates Group will present evidence, including medical records, expert testimony, and witness statements, to support your claim.

d) ALJ Decision: The ALJ will review the evidence and issue a decision on whether you are eligible for benefits.

  1. Waiting Period

There is a waiting period between the application and the hearing for both SSDI and SSI claims:

a) SSDI: The waiting period for SSDI is generally longer, as it involves a review of your work history and earnings records to determine eligibility.

b) SSI: The waiting period for SSI is usually shorter, as it is primarily based on financial need and disability criteria.

SSDI/SSI Differences

Understanding the differences between SSDI hearings and SSI hearings in Florida is essential to navigate the complex Social Security system effectively. Disability Advocates Group is here to support you through the appeals process, ensuring you present a strong case before an Administrative Law Judge. Whether you are applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, our experienced attorneys are ready to guide you every step of the way. If you need assistance with your SSDI or SSI claim in Florida, don’t hesitate to contact Disability Advocates Group for personalized and expert support.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.