Both programs require that you be disabled; but benefits are calculated differently for the two programs. SSI is a federal welfare program. As such, there is a limit on the amount of “assets” you may have in order to receive any payment at all. Also, the monthly amount of SSI benefits depends on your income from all sources, including the amount of your social security disability benefits.
Social security disability, on the other hand, is similar to an insurance program. You are eligible for social security disability benefits because you are disabled and because you paid social security taxes. There are also differences in the way the two programs are operated and the way attorney’s fees are dealt with. All SSI benefits are processed at your local Social Security Office. Social security disability benefits for most people are processed in Baltimore, Maryland. Benefits of those people who are over age 55 are processed in regional payment centers.