Can You Qualify for SSDI and SSI Disability Benefits at the Same Time?

March 2, 2024

Many people can apply for disability benefits under both the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs at the same time.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the term “concurrent” for this situation. However, with some exceptions, a person will receive the higher of the SSDI or SSI amount, not both.

To qualify for either SSDI or SSI, you must prove to Social Security that your medical conditions prevent you from getting and holding onto a job.

The SSA relies on accurate and complete medical records from doctors, clinics and hospitals to determine how severe your physical or mental condition is. Your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last at least 12 months.

SSDI is based on your past earnings. When you’re working, a deduction comes out of your paycheck every month and goes into a pool of money for Social Security. If you develop a disability and can’t work anymore, you can receive monthly benefits paid out of that pool of money.

How much you get in monthly benefits depends on how much you put into the system. The average SSDI benefit amount in 2023 was $1,489 a month.

Many times, people are unable to work, but do not meet the past work requirements get SSDI.

The right Social Security Disability program for them is Supplemental Secured Income, or SSI.

SSI is a needs-based program designed to help people with disabilities, blindness, or they’re at an advanced age with little or no income and assets.

You can’t get SSI if you have countable resources (income and assets) calculated monthly that exceed $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Assets can include stocks and bonds, money in the bank and real estate. The maximum benefit amounts for SSI recipients in 2024 reached $943 a month for individuals and $1,415 for a couple.

If you are awarded SSDI benefits but you only worked for a short time or had a low-wage job, and as a result your SSDI benefits check is less than $943, you may qualify for concurrent SSI benefits. Your SSI benefit amount will be offset by the portion covered by SSDI.

For example, let’s suppose you qualify for SSI and for an SSDI benefit of $400.

Social Security considers this SSDI payment and other benefit payments to be countable income, but the agency exempts $20 a month from the total.

If you qualify for the full $943 SSI amount, with the $20 exemption, Social Security will reduce the SSI portion of your payment by $380. You’d still get your $400 a month in SSDI benefits and $563 in SSI benefits for a combined total of $963.

Another use for a concurrent SSDI and SSI claim is that there’s a waiting period for SSDI to kick in once you’re approved, but not for SSI.

When you are approved for SSDI benefits, five full months are deducted from your benefits.  There is no waiting period with Supplemental Security Income. SSI benefits are paid as of the first full month after Social Security found that your disability began.

Whether you are applying for SSDI, SSI, or both programs, the Social Security Disability process is lengthy and complicated. Do you know the best strategies for winning disability benefits? The experienced disability lawyers at Nash Disability Law do.

Let us help you. It’s easy to get started. Contact Nash Disability Law for a free evaluation of your case. Social Security Disability attorneys only get paid when you win your claim for benefits.