Question of the Month: Can You Qualify for SSDI and SSI Benefits at the Same Time?

September 7, 2018

Social Security has two main programs for awarding disability benefits. In certain situations it is possible to qualify for both programs at the same time. However, you are not entitled to the full amount of each program every month.

The first disability program, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are disabled and you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. The second program is called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and it is based on financial need. The Social Security Administration (SSA) says, “It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income.”

Receiving both SSDI and SSI benefits at the same time is commonly referred to as “concurrent benefits.” If you have been approved for SSDI benefits, but only receive a low amount—not exceeding the income limits for SSI—you may be eligible for benefits under the SSI program. A low monthly SSDI may result because you earned very low wages when you were working; you worked very little or not at all in the past ten years; or you had a very short work history before you became disabled (often times a person who is disabled at a young age has not built a significant work history).

If you are eligible for SSDI payments and your monthly check is less than the SSI monthly benefit of $750 per month for individuals and $1,125 for couples, qualifying for SSI will increase your benefit amount. The advantage to concurrent benefits for SSI recipients is that with SSDI, you will be eligible for Medicare coverage, subject to the two-year waiting period.Without SSDI, SSI beneficiaries are only eligible for Medicaid. While both Medicare and Medicaid offer healthcare benefits, Medicare is more widely accepted by healthcare providers.

Another benefit to a concurrent claim for SSDI recipients is that it can fill in the “gap” that recipients experience during the waiting period. In most SSDI claims, there is a waiting period of five full months from the start of disability (the “onset date”) until cash benefits are paid. However, with SSI, there is no waiting period, so if a person is financially eligible, SSI can pay benefits during that waiting period.

It is important to note that SSI income limits can be complicated to establish, and SSA also counts other assets in determining your eligibility. It is worthwhile to have a local, Chicago disability law firm with significant experience in Social Security cases evaluate whether or not you are eligible for concurrent benefits. You can call Nash Disability Law at 312.883.9465 or contact us through our website for a free review. We can offer you the best possible advice for your unique situation.