Social Security Disability: Can You Get Both SSI and SSDI?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are two Social Security Administration (SSA) programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. Only individuals who have a disability and meet certain medical criteria are eligible to receive benefits from the SSI or SSDI program. The primary difference between these two programs is that the SSI program is financed through general revenues from taxes and is not based on your work history. The SSI program provides benefits to adults who are disabled or blind, children who are disabled or blind, and elderly people over the age of 65. In order to be eligible for SSI benefits, an individual must have limited income and resources. On the other hand, the SSDI program is financed with Social Security taxes. In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, a worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work. If you have limited income and resources and have worked and paid Social Security taxes in the past, you may be eligible to receive benefits from both programs. How the SSA Determines Whether You Qualify for Benefits The SSA determines whether you qualify for the SSI or SSDI program by evaluating your resources, work history, and income. The SSA also examines your medical condition to see if you meet their definition of disability. In order for the SSA to consider you disabled, you must be unable to do the work that you did in the past and unable to adjust to other types of work because of your medical condition. In addition, your disability must last or be expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. If you have enough work credits, apply for the SSDI program. The amount of monthly SSDI payments is based on your payroll contribution. If you don't have enough work credits and have limited income and resources, apply for the SSI program. The only way you can receive both SSI and SSDI benefits is if your SSDI benefits are less than the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) for SSI payments. As of 2011, the FBR for SSI payments is $674 per month for an eligible individual and $1,011 per month for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. That means if you receive $800 per month from the SSDI program, you will not be eligible for SSI payments since you're already receiving more than the FBR. But if you receive only $500 month from the SSDI program and you're also eligible for the SSI program, you may receive an additional $174 per month to bring the payment amount up to the FBR. Need Help Applying for SSI and/or SSDI? If you're not sure whether you qualify for both SSI and SSDI payments or need help with your application, Atlanta Social Security disability attorney Louis B. Lusk can help. Please call 800.883.7043 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free evaluation.