It is possible to be eligible for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits at the same time. When you receive both SSDI and SSI, it is known as “concurrent benefits.” To qualify for concurrent benefits, you must have worked long enough and paid enough in payroll taxes to qualify for SSDI but have income and total assets low enough to meet the requirements for SSI.
Also, since SSDI benefits count toward your total income when qualifying for SSI, you are eligible for both only if you receive a very low SSDI payment.
SSDI vs. SSI
SSDI and SSI both are disability programs run by the SSA, but they serve different functions and have different qualifying criteria. SSDI operates like an insurance program. The payroll taxes deducted from your check during your working years serve as premiums. Only if you have paid a sufficient amount in payroll taxes can you make a claim for benefits.
SSI operates not as an insurance company but as a welfare program. It is means-tested, meaning it is available only to those with limited resources. Applicants must have monthly incomes and total assets that fall below certain thresholds to get approved for SSI. A person who makes too much money or whose net worth is too high is not eligible for SSI benefits.
How to Qualify for SSI
To qualify for SSI, your monthly income must be below $750, and your total assets must be below $2,000 ($3,000 if applying as a married couple). The rules for calculating income are complex, and they vary from state to state. Just know that not every dollar you earn or receive in benefits counts toward SSI’s income threshold, so it is possible to bring in more than $750 a month and still qualify for benefits. Your attorney can review your financial situation and let you know what to expect with regard to SSI.
SSI also grants certain exemptions when tabulating your total assets. Not everything you own is assigned a value and counted toward your net worth. So, again, it is possible to own more than $2,000 in assets and receive SSI.
How to Qualify for SSDI
To qualify for SSDI, you are required to have a sufficient work history and to have paid enough into the system via your payroll taxes. The formula used to determine eligibility is highly complex. It assigns you credits each year based on your taxable income, then totals up your credits from all your working years. As a general rule, if you have worked full-time continuously and for at least a few years before applying for SSDI, you will probably be approved based on your work history. Your attorney can let you know for sure after an initial case evaluation.
How to Qualify for Both
To be eligible for both SSDI and SSI benefits, you must have enough work credits to receive SSDI but also have a low enough monthly income (including your SSDI payments) to be eligible for SSI. You do not have to do anything special or mark your application a certain way to apply for both types of benefits. The SSA will review your SSDI and SSI applications the same as they would if you were applying to only one program.
When You Start Receiving Payments from SSDI vs. SSI
Another thing to keep in mind is that SSDI has a five-month waiting period after you get approved, while SSI begins paying benefits immediately. If you qualify for SSDI but have a low income, you might be able to collect SSI benefits until your SSDI kicks in. If you are still eligible for SSI after you start receiving SSDI, your SSI award will reduced by the amount you are getting in SSDI. For example, if your monthly SSI check was $750 (the maximum as of 2018), then you start receiving $500 per month in SSDI, your SSI payment would drop to $250, keeping your total benefit amount from the two programs the same.
Ask About Medicaid Eligibility
There is one more benefit of receiving SSI along with SSDI. When you get approved for SSDI alone, you usually become eligible for Medicare, but you have to wait two years to receive it. As an SSI recipient, you are eligible for Medicaid, and you can get it right away. Although fewer doctors accept Medicaid than Medicare, Medicaid covers more services and is also free (while Medicare costs a small monthly fee).
To Find Out if You Are Eligible for SSDI or SSI, Call the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800
The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, want to help you apply for and win all Social Security benefits for which you are eligible. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, call our office today at 865-566-0800.