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Social Security Administration - Can I get SSI if I get SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to disabled workers who have a severe mental or physical health condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and which does not allow the worker to perform substantial gainful activity.

Social Security Disability Insurance is not offered to all disabled workers. Workers who have not worked or who have worked but have not paid employment taxes will not qualify for SSDI benefits because workers must have worked long enough and paid enough in taxes to be considered insured by the Social Security Administration. The amount of work credits you need to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance will vary, but most workers will need between 20 and 40 work credits.

I am receiving SSDI. Can I get Supplemental Security Income benefits?

Many claimants who are currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits may be wondering if they can also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Supplemental Security Income is a separate wage assistance program offered by the Social Security Administration. SSI is only provided to the aged (65 years or older), disabled or blind who are not able to perform substantial gainful activity but who have not worked or who have not worked enough to be considered “insured” for SSDI benefits.

Can you get Supplemental Security Income if you are currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance? Potentially, and this can be a bit confusing, but SSDI claimants who are receiving a very low SSDI payment and who also have VERY limited resources may also get SSI benefits.

The Social Security Administration has established a federal benefit rate which is paid to SSI claimants. This rate is periodically adjusted but in 2012 it is $698 per qualifying individual. Assuming your SSDI payment is less than the federal benefit rate and your resources are less than $2,000 you may also qualify for SSI benefits.

What if I get SSI? Can I also get SSDI?

Many claimants are receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits and want to know if they can receive SSDI instead or in addition to their current SSI payment. This question is actually much more common than the other way around.

Unfortunately, if you are getting Supplemental Security Income it is because the Social Security Administration has already agreed you are disabled (using the same criteria they use for the SSDI program) but they have also determined that you did not work enough or pay enough in payroll taxes to be considered insured for Social Security Disability Insurance.

If you think the Social Security Administration has made a miscalculation of your work credits and you want to challenge this you can. Contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to discuss what evidence you would need to fight your denial for SSDI benefits.

Hiring a Disability Lawyer

The good news is that if you are receiving SSDI benefits than you are already way ahead of millions of other applicants that are still fighting the Social Security Administration. Keep in mind, most SSDI recipients will not qualify for both SSDI and SSI, but a small number will. Contact the SSA if you have more questions or contact a disability lawyer for assistance.
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