For many people, qualifying for any Social Security program because of a disability can be enormously helpful. However, qualifying and applying for one of the available programs can be a difficult process that will most likely take substantial effort and determination. If you do qualify for a single Social Security program, but it does not provide enough assistance, you may have additional options.
Although the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs provide different services and have different requirements, it is possible that you may be eligible for both. If you do qualify for both programs you may be able to enroll in them simultaneously. To do this is to receive concurrent benefits.
How can you qualify for both SSDI and SSI?
When considering concurrent benefits, it is important to understand the differences between SSDI and SSI. SSDI provides benefits based on the amount of work credits you have earned over the course of your career. SSI provides benefits based on individual needs.
As of 2016, the maximum payment an individual can receive from a SSDI benefit payment is $2,639 per month. However, that is the maximum payment. The estimated average payment for all disabled workers is $1,166, which factors in all of the individuals who are receiving less than the average amount in monthly benefits.
Because the benefits received under SSDI may not be enough to cover basic expenses of living, people who are covered by SSDI may also be eligible for SSI.
Requirements for concurrent benefits
Both the SSDI and SSI programs have specified income limits. These limits are determined annually by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and take into account changes in the economy and the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). As of 2016, the income limit for SSI (known as the Federal Benefit Rate) is $733 per month for an individual and $1,100 per month for couples.
Bearing this in mind, if you do not exceed the Federal Benefit Rate, you may be eligible for both SSI and SSDI. This is not guaranteed though, as the SSA does not count every part of your income when determining whether or not you exceed the Federal Benefit Rate.
There is no process for applying for concurrent benefits in particular, as it is simply a result of receiving both SSDI and SSI benefits at the same time. The process for applying for them can be complicated and long (possibly multiple years) depending on how you go about it, so it is generally advised that you consult a legal professional as you go about the process. They may be able to facilitate the process moving along as quickly as possible which will provide you with benefits sooner rather than later.