The Difference Between SSDI and SSI Benefits to Disabled Boston Residents

There are various programs that the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) administers.  The largest part of the agency’s budget involves the Old Age and Retirement program.  These are the benefits that are available when you reach a certain age.  This age was once 60, but those days are long gone, and the age for full benefits keeps increasing as time passes and Congress looks for more ways to save money by paying out less in benefits.

gavelIn addition to the old age program, there is also the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program.  When most people think or talk about Social Security disability benefits, they are talking about SSDI benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, which are often called Title II benefits by Boston disability attorneys based upon their title number in the U.S. Social Security Act, require the claimant to have worked long enough, and thereby earned enough work credits, to qualify for disability benefits. The number of credits will depend on the age of the claimant. The younger the adult claimant is, the less credits he or she will be required to have earned at the date of onset of disability. On the other hand, the older a claimant is, the more work credits he or she will have to have earned to qualify for SSDI benefits in Boston or other cities across the nation.

In addition to the SSDI program, there is another type of disability benefits program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  However, as discussed in a recent news article from, while Supplemental Security Income benefits are for disabled Americans, they are not technically Social Security.  This is obviously more confusing based on the fact that they are designed to help disabled people, and the Social Security Administration administers the program.

The reason this program exists is because, prior to 1973, there were various programs for helping disabled people in very low-income households that were administered by the various sates instead of the federal government.  In some states, there were very good benefits.  In other states, the benefits for these people were non-existent.  In an effort to stop what many considered a fundamentally unfair series of disparate systems, Congress created SSI.

Once Congress decided to create this national welfare system for disabled people who were children or over the age of 65, they needed an executive agency to administer the program.  Congress chose to give this program to SSA, since they were already serving a similar role with the SSDI program, and they had the infrastructure set up to handle the task.

One of the major differences is where the money comes from that is ultimately paid out to disabled claimants. Unlike SSDI, where everyone who works pays money into a specific fund though federal withholdings, this money comes from the General Services Administration (GSA) general fund.  Another major difference is that, unlike with SSDI program, there is no retroactive payment of benefits.  This can have a major effect on claimants who do not apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible to do so.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Social Security and You: SSI benefits aren’t Social Security, January 20, 2017, By Tom Margenau,

More Bog Entries:

Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 22, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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