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SSDI recipient- Will I automatically get SSI benefits too?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...[/caption]

Disability applicants have asked, “If I get SSDI benefits will I automatically get SSI benefits?” This is a good question, and below we will discuss what SSDI benefits are, the benefits they will provide and when an applicant will also qualify for Supplemental Security Income or SSI in addition to their Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefit.
What is SSDI?

SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance is provided to disabled workers who have a severe health condition and who are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months. Unlike SSI benefits, an SSDI applicant must have worked and paid employment taxes into the SSA system to be considered “insured” for benefits.

If you get SSDI you can expect to receive a monthly cash payment. Payment amounts vary based on your average earnings while you were working and the amount you paid into the system The average amount that is paid out each month is for SSDI is $1,100, but applicants could receive much more or much less.

In addition to a monthly cash payment, you will also receive Medicare 24 months from the date of your disability. Unfortunately, this rule was implemented with the assumption that many disability applicants would have residual healthcare benefits from their employer so they would not need health insurance. The government is also unlike to change this rule given that it saves them a ton of money.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is provided to the aged, blind or disabled who are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months. As mentioned above, SSI does not require applicants to have a work history, and you can qualify for SSI even if you have not worked or paid taxes. You do not have to be insured to get SSI benefits. Claimants must, however, have VERY limited income and resources to qualify.

The downside to SSI is the payment amount is substantially lower than SSDI because it is based on what the SSA terms the Federal Benefit Rate. The amount which is currently paid in 2012 is $698 per qualifying individual. Keep in mind some states do add a state supplemental payment onto the Federal Benefit Rate so your payment could be a bit higher in some states.

When will I get both SSDI and SSI benefits together?

This question is a bit confusing. For instance, if you have been awarded SSI benefit you will not qualify for SSDI because the SSA, although they have determined you are disabled, has also determined that you did not have sufficient work credits to be considered insured when you applied for disability.

Now what if you are getting SSDI? You may be wondering if you can also get SSI. Yes, in some cases you can but only if your SSDI payment is less than the Federal Benefit Rate and you have limited resources.

This gets a bit more complicated. If you are living with someone who is providing food or shelter or you are married the SSA will also “deem” a portion of their income to you. This means that if you are getting SSDI and the payment is less than the Federal Benefit Rate if you are living with someone who makes too much money you would not also qualify for SSI benefits in addition to your SSDI benefit payment.
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