Is It Possible to Qualify for Both SSI and SSDI at the Same Time?

Many benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is common for Americans in need to rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If you meet eligibility requirements for both government benefits programs, you can receive both simultaneously.

SSI qualification is contingent upon income verification with strict financial limits. However, SSDI is based on your prior income, how long ago you worked, and how much you paid into the Social Security tax program (FICA). The SSA identifies receiving both as concurrent benefits, and while they administer both programs, they have significantly different criteria for qualification.

Qualifying for SSI

In 2023, the federal benefit rate (FBR) income limit per month for an individual is $914, while for a couple, it is $1,371. It is possible to earn more than these amounts and still qualify since not all income is counted. Countable income includes earned income, less the first $65 for each month.

Once the FBR earned monthly income is exceeded, SSI checks cease. The SSA determines the amount of benefits received by subtracting non-countable from your gross income. Then they subtract your countable income from the established federal benefit rate to arrive at your SSI benefits amount.

Non-Countable Assets

SSI resource limits are $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 per couple. While this number seems low, many resources are not countable, including:

  • The home you reside in and the land it is on
  • One vehicle used for household transportation, no matter its value
  • Personal effects and household goods
  • Life insurance policies with a total face value of less than $1,500
  • Burial spaces for immediate family and yourself
  • Burial funding for you and your spouse, each valuation to be $1,500 or less
  • Any property you or your spouse use for business or in trade
  • Money or property under a Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) for persons who are disabled or blind
  • As much as $100,000 funding an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account set up through a state ABLE program

The SSA has additional resources defined that don’t count toward the SSI limit, and your disability lawyer can help you identify all that apply to your situation. SSI limits can be confusing since only about half of your income is countable towards SSA-defined monthly income. It is possible to make nearly $1,500 monthly and still be eligible for SSI.

In most states, SSI recipients are automatically eligible for Medicaid, and their SSI application also counts as an application for Medicaid. In other states, you will have to apply and establish your eligibility for Medicaid through another agency.

Qualifying for SSDI

SSDI has a markedly different process for determining benefits as well as meeting the SSA definition of being disabled. First, you must have earned enough work credits to qualify for the insurance. Generally, this is twenty credits. To have this many credits, you must have worked the equivalent of five years in a full-time capacity within the last decade. There are variations to this qualifying rule depending on your age and other extenuating circumstances. Speaking to a disability attorney can help you understand if you are eligible and if you qualify for variations to the standard rules.

Receiving SSI and SSDI

To qualify for both programs concurrently, you must qualify medically and meet each benefits program’s criteria. However, this means the total of both payments can’t be higher than your highest SSI payment. Many individuals apply for both programs simultaneously since even after their application for SSDI is approved, they must wait five full months before receiving the first SSDI benefit check. The first payment will be in the sixth full month after the date the SSA finds the disability began. If you qualify for SSI benefits, your payments will be issued within two weeks of approval of a properly completed claim. A quick turnaround of SSI benefits payment can help offset the waiting period if you qualify for both programs.

By receiving SSI and SSDI benefits, you maximize available government payout assistance. Additionally, concurrent benefits of these programs may also result in eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid simultaneously. In most states, SSI recipients are eligible for Medicaid as soon as they receive program approval. SSDI recipients will be eligible for Medicare two years after the date determined to be the onset of their disability.

Help from a Disability Attorney

A disability attorney can assess your situation when applying for concurrent benefits of SSI and SSDI. Your lawyer knows the SSA medical standards for disability qualification and can discern if you have multiple qualifying disabilities. They can guide your process to ensure the applications you submit are correct and complete, which can help speed the approval process. A disability attorney can also represent you if your claim is denied and in an appeal. The overlap of these benefit programs and their qualifiers, special exemptions, countable resource exceptions, and many other details complicate applying for SSI and SSDI. Let a disability lawyer help you get the full government benefits you deserve.

We hope you found this article helpful. Please contact our office today at (832) 761-7773 and schedule a consultation to discuss your legal matters.