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Can I Qualify For SSI if I'm Already Receiving SSDI?

Home » Law Blog » Can I Qualify For SSI if I'm Already Receiving SSDI?

There are some cases where people who are receiving SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) can also receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income. People who receive both SSDI and SSI receive "concurrent" benefits.

Qualifying for SSDI

You must have a "disability." SSI defines disability as – "any condition that is severe enough to prevent you from working for 12 months or more."

You also need to show you have enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI.  Generally, you need to show you worked for at least five of the prior ten years. You also need to show you earned a certain income level and had taxes withheld from your pay.

Qualifying for SSI

This program is for disabled, blind, and the elderly (65 and older) individuals. Payments are not tied to your prior earnings or work history. Eligibility is based on your income, assets, and any financial aid you or your spouse receives. You must also be a US citizen or national (there are some alien categories) and meet specific residency requirements. Other conditions also apply.

When SSI reviews your income, they'll examine your Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, VA benefits, workers' comp benefits, and other benefits.

SSI uses the same definition for a disability that SSDI uses.

Qualifying for both SSDI and SSI

Generally, to qualify for SSI and SSDI, your income, including your SSDI benefit, must be less than $794 (for 2021) per month for one person and $1,191 for a couple. The limit does vary by state. If you're working, some (but not necessarily all) of your income doesn't count toward the limit. SSI, unlike SSDI, also reviews your assets. You won't qualify for both governmental benefits if the value of your assets is too high.

For example, if your SSDI benefit is $500 per month, you can apply for $294 in SSI benefits – provided you don't have significant assets or other income.

SSDI has a five-month waiting period – the time you need to wait until the government pays your SSDI benefit. During this five-month waiting period, you may also be entitled to SSI benefits, even if you have a small income. Once you start receiving your SSDI payments, an adjustment to your SSI benefits is made.

There is an important consideration.

  • People who are eligible for SSI benefits are eligible for Medicaid.
  • People eligible for SSDI benefits are eligible for Medicare after waiting two years from the date your eligibility starts.
  • Generally, it's easier to see a Medicare provider through Medicaid typically pays more than Medicare.

Typically, if you worked for 5 of the past ten years, you've accumulated some assets - or receive an SSDI monthly payment more than the $794/$1,191 limit. But not always. Contact Wren Law Firm for help applying for Social Security Benefits!

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