Does SSI or SSDI Pay More?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is tasked with overseeing two programs meant to aid the disabled in covering costs of living. These two programs are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Those disabled individuals who have qualifying work credits and have made FICA contributions may be entitled to SSDI benefits. SSI benefits are available to disabled individuals with low income so they can cover things such as food and shelter expenses.

To qualify for SSI, your total assets and income must fall below a certain level. While there are several similarities between the two programs, there are also several differences. One such difference is how much you receive in benefits under each. SSDI payments and SSI payments are calculated in different ways, which means there will be different payment amounts under each.

Does SSI or SSDI Pay More?

The answer to this is, of course, it depends. Generally speaking, disabled persons have the potential to earn larger payments from SSDI than SSI. SSDI benefits are calculated based on your earning record, not your income level. In 2020, it is expected that the average SSDI payment will be a little over $1,200. On the other side of things, SSI has strict limits on the amount of benefits a person can receive each month. The Federal Benefit Rate is the most you can receive in monthly SSI benefits. In 2020, the Federal Benefit Rate is $783 per month.

In addition to the $783 maximum SSI benefits available, some states have small supplementary benefits that are also available to those in need. California is one such state. The California State Supplemental Payment (SSP) provides $160.72 available to add to the national FBR. That means that an individual would be allowed a total monthly SSI benefit of $943.72 (FBR of $783 plus SSP of $160.72).

The payment dates of SSI and SSDI benefits are also different. SSI payments are paid out on the first of each month following your benefit application approval. Should the first of the month fall on a weekend or federal holiday, your benefits will be paid on the business day falling before the first of the month. You may receive your SSI payments via direct deposit or through the Direct Express card program. You may also receive your payments via mail, but they may arrive a few days after the first of the month.

For SSDI payments, the date you are paid will depend on your birthday. There are three time frames:

  • If your birthday falls between the 1st and 10th or the month, then you will receive your SSDI benefit payments on the second Wednesday of each month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 11th and 20th of the month, then you will receive your SSDI benefit payments on the third Wednesday of each month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 21st and the last day of the month, then you will receive your SSDI benefit payments on the fourth Wednesday of each month.

If you receive concurrent payments, meaning you receive both SSI and SSDI benefits, and you receive them in a single payment, then you will be paid on the 3rd day of each month.

Social Security Disability Attorney

Unfortunately, those who most need and rely on SSDI and SSI benefits do not always fully understand how these benefits operate. If you have any questions about SSDI or SSI, you can depend on Disability Advocates Group for the answers you need. We are here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.