SSI or SSDI?

The SSA offers two programs to assist people with disabilities who are unable to work: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI is a needs-based program based on an individual’s financial assets and income, and SSDI is an insurance program whereby earnings are based on your work history and contributions to Social Security and Medicare through payroll taxes. Most people aren’t clean which one they should apply for, or if they are supposed to apply for both.

The good news is that the SSA will screen applicants for both programs. The application and judgment process is exactly the same. Is it possible to receive payments from both programs? Based on work history, if an SSDI payment is lower than $698 a month, and other assets, resources, and forms of income are low enough, one would qualify for concurrent benefits. Keep in mind that doesn’t mean a recipient will receive more money. Since SSI is based on need, receiving income from SSDI will decrease the SSI payment accordingly.

But there are other advantages to receiving concurrent benefits. For example, in most states, receiving SSI automatically qualifies an individual for Medicaid, which offers more comprehensive coverage than Medicare, including prescription drugs and extended-stay nursing home care.