Welcome to Cosi Agency’s comprehensive guide on Social Security Disability Benefits! As registered Social Security analysts with a decade of experience, we are committed to educating you on maximizing your Social Security income. In this blog post, we delve into the nuances of the two federally funded disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).


SSI and SSDI share commonalities that often lead to confusion. Both programs have identical criteria for determining disability based on medical evidence and functional abilities. The application process, despite different forms, remains the same, with a shared disability determination. Additionally, each program comes with its own associated health insurance program.


While the medical and functional disability criteria remain consistent, the pivotal difference lies in the non-medical criteria. SSI is need-based, relying on an individual’s financial situation, while SSDI is based on contributions made by employees and employers to the Social Security trust fund.

Exploring Other Differences:

1. Benefit Amount – SSI and SSDI vary in benefit amounts.

2. Eligibility Dates – The dates on which you become eligible differ for each program.

3. Health Insurance – Although both programs offer health insurance, the specifics can vary.

4. Work Incentives – Work incentives differ, and individuals who have never worked may consider applying for each program

Disabled Adult Child (DAC) –

An intriguing aspect is the Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits. Adults disabled before age 22 may be eligible for benefits based on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. This benefit continues as long as the individual remains disabled.

Working While Applying for SSI/SSDI –

Applicants can work during the application process, providing valuable information on functional limitations. Social Security evaluates work activity to determine if the individual can maintain substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Working While Receiving SSI/SSDI – Cash Benefits

SSI – The program is needs-based, and an individual’s check may reduce when they start working. Exclusions and specific programs like PASS and IRWE exist to support recipients.

SSDI – Work incentives include the Trial Work Period (TWP) and the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), promoting individuals to explore work opportunities.

Working While Receiving SSI/SSDI – Health Insurance

Medicaid (SSI) – Individuals may retain eligibility even if SSI payments stop due to earnings.

Medicare (SSDI) – Coverage continues for 93 months after SSDI payments stop due to earnings.


This serves as a five-year safety net after cash benefits end, allowing an expedited return to benefits if the disabling condition hinders sustained work.

Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program –

Available to all SSI/SSDI beneficiaries, this free program connects individuals to employment supports, offering career counseling, training, and job placement.

When To Apply –

It’s crucial to apply as soon as you become disabled, considering waiting periods for SSDI and the immediate payment for SSI.

How To Apply

Applying for Disability benefits is convenient, whether online or by calling the toll free number. Special provisions are in place for individuals with hearing impairments.

At Cosi Agency, we emphasize the importance of understanding the intricate details of SSI and SSDI. Whether you’re navigating the application process or contemplating a return to work, knowledge is your greatest asset. Always consult with your local Social Security office representative for standard guidance. If you want to maximize your benefits, let Cosi Agency be your partner in securing a stable financial future.

Enrique Rivera.jpg

COSI Agency, we understand the importance of making informed decisions when it comes to your Social Security benefits. That’s why we offer the expertise of Registered Social Security Analysts (RSSAs) who are dedicated to helping you optimize retirement income

Share this article