Disability / SSDI / SSI


SSDI is an insurance program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), a federal agency.  To qualify, a person must have paid into the system through payroll deductions or self-employment taxes for an extended period of time (roughly ten years) and meet the standard of “disability” set by the regulations.  Although receiving some kinds of other benefits may effect an individual’s ability to collect SSDI, for the most part, economic need is not a consideration for receiving SSDI benefits.


SSI is a needs based program administered through the SSA to provide benefits to people who meet the same standard of “disability” as SSDI, but do not have the work history to qualify for that program.  In addition to the meeting the disability standard, there is a $2,000.00 limit ($3,000.00 for a couple) on money and assets you may have and still qualify.  Not all assets are counted toward the limit.  Here are some common assets that do not count:

  • The home you live in and the land it is on;
  • Household goods and personal effects (e.g., your wedding and engagement rings);
  • Burial spaces for you or your immediate family;
  • Burial funds for you and your spouse, each valued at $1,500 or less
  • Life insurance policies with a combined face value of $1,500 or less;
  • One vehicle, regardless of value, if it is used for transportation for you or a member of your household;