Social Security manages two disability insurance programs for people whose disabilities restrict their ability to work.

Below we discuss the differences between the two programs.


Social Security’s main disability program is called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program is an insurance policy that you pay into every time you get paid. In order to qualify for SSDI, you need to have worked and paid social security taxes for at least five out of the last 10 years. It’s a policy that’s in place so that if you become disabled before you reach full retirement age, you can apply for disability benefits.


However, there’s still hope for people who have not paid into Social Security enough to qualify for SSDI. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is Social Security’s other disability program. SSI is not based on how much you’ve worked or paid into the system over the years. Instead, it is based on whether or not social security recognizes you as disabled and if you have limited assets and/or income. In order to be eligible for SSI, you need to prove that your disabled, that you have very few assets, and almost no monthly income. Now, when it comes to determining who is disabled and who is not, Social Security uses the same definitions for both programs.


Social Security can be confusing, daunting landscape to navigate.


If you have additional questions about whether you can apply for Social Security before you stop working, I want you to call me at 508-732-8989.


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Plymouth, MA 02360