It’s a common situation: You’ve looked over the requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and realize that due to an ongoing disability or other qualification, you’re potentially eligible for both benefits. But can you apply for – and receive – both?
The short answer is yes.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) describes applicants who are eligible to receive both benefits as “concurrent” applicants and ongoing eligibility depends on a variety of factors. According to The Urban Institute, approximately 1.3 million people are currently receiving both sets of benefits and they’re also among the most likely to want to return to work.
How can I remain eligible for SSI and SSDI concurrently?
Both programs use the same system and process to determine disability. However, SSDI eligibility is based more on past employment and earnings levels whereas SSI eligibility does not require past employment and is means-tested. You may be able to remain eligible for both as long as your SSDI benefit is lower than the maximum federal SSI benefit.
In order to potentially remain eligible for both, you would need to stay within a very specific income range and maintain disability status with both programs.
What about traditional Social Security?
If you’ve qualified for SSI and/or SSDI and also qualify for regular Social Security benefits, the program will only pay out whichever benefit is higher. In this case, AARP suggests sticking with SSDI (if you’re in that program) until you’ve reached the full retirement age (FRA) because you’ll have a continual payout of near or at the same level with no decrease in benefits. (They do note a potential exception if you’re receiving worker’s compensation or a “public disability benefit” alongside SSDI.)
In any case, this is only an overview of the potential situations that could arise when attempting to collect both SSDI and SSI benefits. The rules and regulations are purposefully complex and can be wildly confusing. This is why it’s important to contact a qualified Social Security claims attorney to help guide you through the intricacies of the process. Call Schott Law today at (509) 328-5789 to learn more and schedule a free consultation.