The Social Security Administration accepts and processes claims for both Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as well as benefits under the Supplement Security Income program. At times, a concurrent claim under both programs is appropriate.
While the two programs are different, the criteria for a finding of disabled for both is the same. However, the time frame for when the claimant must prove he or she met the definition of disabled can differ.
The differences between the two programs
For SSDI, because it is a form of insurance, claimants must prove their disability occurred during a time period when they had insured status. This is not very different from other insurances.
For SSI, however, which is not insurance, claimants need only prove that they meet the definition of disabled currently or during their pending claim, with limited exception. Both programs then require that the disability continue or the SSA expects it to continue for at least 12 months or result in death. In addition, while SSI does not require that the claimants establish that they had insurance, they must prove they have sufficiently low income and resources.
Who should apply for both?
Claimants who have little to no income or assets at the time they file for SSDI should consider filing for both programs. This may be so even if they will not be eligible for SSI once they secure their SSDI benefit due to the income limit.
SSI may pay months when SSDI does not
However, the SSDI program has a waiting period. The first five months of an established disability period are not payable by the SSDI program. The successful disabled claimant cannot receive benefit payments for those months.
However, the SSI program does not have such a waiting period. Thus, for any months of determined disability where both claims were pending, any months not payable by SSDI may be payable by SSI. That could be up to five months of $735 per month or more.
It is also important to note that those SSDI filers who are not poor enough financially to bother filing for SSI at the time of the SSDI filing may have unfortunate financial circumstance at some point during their pending claim. They may always submit the SSI application at a later date.
Further, an SSA determination of a disability that started later than alleged by the claimant may mean that the SSDI waiting period overlaps with the SSI claim period, warranting SSI payments for some months.