Is It Possible to Get SSDI and SSI at the Same Time?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both need-based programs that provide important financial benefits to those who qualify. In order to be eligible for SSDI, you must meet the SSA definition of disability. The disability, whether mental or physical, must be so severe as to prevent an individual from maintaining a job that would constitute “substantial gainful activity.” On the other side of things is SSI benefits. SSI is a financial need-based program and income from all countable sources is considered in determining whether a person qualifies for the program. In some cases, a person may qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits. The question then becomes whether or not a person can receive both SSDI and SSI at the same time.

Can I Get SSDI and SSI at the Same Time?

Yes, it is possible to receive both SSDI and SSI benefits at the same time. This is often referred to as “concurrent benefits. In order to be eligible for concurrent benefits, you have to be approved to receive SSDI benefits. The monthly SSDI payments you receive, however, must be low enough so that you still qualify for SSI.

There can be a number of reasons why your monthly SSDI payments might be low. These include:

  • Infrequent work or no work history in the past 10 years
  • Infrequent work or no work history since you became disabled
  • You were unable to establish a significant work history due to becoming disabled at a young age
  • You received low wages throughout your employment history

Your SSDI payments must be low in order to qualify for SSI because SSI is an income-based program. An individual must establish a financial need to receive program benefits. In order to be considered eligible for SSI benefits, your income must fall below a certain threshold. In order to calculate your income level, countable income will be calculated. Countable income will include both earned income as well as some types of unearned income. SSDI benefit payments are included in the unearned income category.

In sum, yes, you may receive concurrent benefits meaning that you receive both monthly SSDI and SSI benefit payments. In some cases, however, your income level may disqualify you for SSI benefits due to being too high. This does not mean, however, that you will be ineligible for SSDI benefits. In other cases, you may not qualify for SSI benefits but still qualify for SSDI benefits. In the alternative, you may not have established the requisite work history to qualify for SSDI benefits, but you still may qualify for SSI benefits. Should you apply for SSDI, SSI, or both, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is tasked with deciding which benefits you are qualified to receive.

Social Security Disability Attorney

Both SSDI and SSI are established government programs that help those in need. SSDI and SSI provide benefits that can relieve an otherwise unbearable and unmanageable financial burden. If you have questions about whether you qualify for either SSDI, SSI, or both, Disability Advocates Group is here for you. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.