The Night Shift

Which pays more? Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income?

I was recently asked which pays more in benefits? Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

If you are wondering about the difference between SSDI and SSI, read this post.

As for which pays more, the answer is…

It depends.

SSI benefits are based on the annual Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) which sets the maximum SSI benefits you can per month. For 2009, the FBR is $674 for individuals ($1,011 for couples).  That mean the most an individual on SSI can receive is $674 per month. Couples who are both on SSI can receive a maximum of $1,011 per month.

Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are based on your payroll contribution to Social Security. The more you have paid into Social Security, the more monthly benefits you may be entitled to.

Simply put, SSI is capped at $674 per month (based on the 2009 SSI Federal Benefit Rate). Depending on how much you have paid into Social Security, SSDI may pay more in benefits.

If you want to get an idea of how much you may be entitled if you become disabled, Social Security has online benefit calculators which can estimate benefits amounts.  Social Security also mails you a “Social Security Statement” every year before your birthday which describes your estimated benefits.

Image provided by U.S. National Archives.

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Tomasz Stasiuk

Disability and Estate Planning Attorney - Visit me at

  • Mariebaxley

    ok so i’m on ssi . i just apple for ssdi do i have wilt 5 month

  • Mariebaxley

    ok so i’m ssi . i just apple for ssdi how long take to get ssdi

    • TomaszStasiuk

      In my mind, the real question is, “am I eligible for SSDI?” It would be odd for SSA to process an SSI claim without considering possible eligibility for SSDI. Conceivably, it could happen. So, there is no harm in asking. It should not take long for SSA to make a determination on this, since the main issue is whether an individual is even eligible to apply for benefits.