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If you have done even a little bit of investigation in regard to social security disability, you have probably come across these two acronyms. SSI stand for Supplemental Security Income and SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. So what is the difference between SSDI and SSI? Well hopefully this post will give you a workable understanding on the difference between these two programs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims are authorized under Title II of the Social Security Act. There are several requirements in order to qualify for SSDI: both recent and amount of contribution, residency, and disability status. SSDI is a program aimed at workers who have contributed or paid into the social security trust fund. A claimant makes these payments through the Social Security tax on their earnings. SSDI acts very similar to a common insurance plan. Along with making payments into the trust, a SSDI claimant must also have contributed recently enough to qualify. In order to meet this requirement a claimant must have the necessary "quarters of coverage" to qualify. For an in-depth analysis of quarters of coverage see future posts. A claimant must also meet the social security administration's (SSA) definition of disabled and meet the residency or citizenship requirement. If you qualify for SSDI you may be entitled to retroactive benefits based on your disability onset date. There is a five month waiting period from the onset date of your disability under SSDI. You will not be paid any benefits until five full months have elapsed. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims are authorized under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. In order to qualify for SSI a claimant must be disabled. The definition of disabled that is used for SSDI is also used for SSI. The claimant must meet the residency or citizenship requirements, or fall within one of the many exceptions. And finally, a SSI claimant must not exceed the asset and income levels of the program. There are no retroactive payments available under the SSI program. Unlike SSDI there is a short waiting period to the first of the next month after all application requirements are met. A claimant can meet both SSDI and SSI programs without even applying for both. When a claimant files an application with the social security administration (SSA), they will take your application and see if you meet both of the requirements of these programs. So one application is sufficient. What this also means, if you file an application for SSI and you are denied, you do not have to file another application for SSDI. This post was written to merely give you an idea of the major differences between the two programs. There are more differences between SSDI and SSI, but the major ones are mentioned above. More information will come in the future. If you have any questions regarding the specific elements of the requirements of each program you can consult the internet, your local social security administration field office, or you can contact a qualified social security disability attorney.