The Social Security Administration offers two benefit programs for disabled Americans who are unable to work. These programs are not mutually exclusive, so you can receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) concurrently.
However, receiving both can affect the total benefits you can receive.
Your work history
To qualify for SSDI, you need the appropriate amount of work credits based on your age group. It all depends on how long you were in the workforce. If you only worked for a little while, you may only qualify for a small SSDI benefit. SSI can then supplement the rest.
Your financial situation
If you have limited finances or have never worked, SSI may make more sense. SSI does have a cap on your countable income, providing eligible individuals up to $841 a month or couples up to $1,261 per month. Because your income affects your SSI benefits, receiving SSDI can lower your monthly benefit. SSDI payments that put you above the federal threshold can make you ineligible for SSI benefits.
Although SSDI can provide higher benefits, there is a waiting period. You will not receive benefits until six months after the SSA determines the date of your disability. If you have a recent disability, you could be waiting half a year for income. SSI benefits do not have a waiting period. You can either use SSI to cover you until SSDI kicks in or use both concurrently.
Confirming your eligibility and monitoring your income closely can help ensure you get the maximum amount of disability benefits.