I recently wrote about the difference between Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Can you get BOTH: SSI and SSDI?
Depending on your circumstances, yes.
However, it doesn’t mean more money.
Disability Insurance Benefits are based on your payroll contribution to Social Security. The more you have paid into Social Security, the more in monthly benefits you may be entitled to.
The most you can get on SSI is the annual Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). For 2016, the FBR is $733. That means the most you can receive on SSI in $733 per month.
Note: the FBR changes from year to year. Or, more accurately, it can change from year to year IF there is a COLA (cost of living adjustment). You can look up the current FBR here. This tells you the most an individual, or a couple, on SSI can get from Social Security.
However, SSI is also a needs based program. So, as a rule of thumb, any money you get from other sources (parents, friends, lottery, gambling, inheritance, law suit settlements, etc.) generally reduces your SSI benefits. And, this includes money from SSDI.
So, the only way to get both SSDI and SSI is for your SSDI benefits to be less than the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).
If that happens, and you qualify financially for SSI, you can also get Supplemental Security Income to pay up to the Federal Benefit rate.
I realize this may sound like a bunch of legalistic gobbledygook. So, here is a quick example:
Let’s say you qualify for $500 per month in Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits.
SSI may pay you an additional $233 to bring your total monthly benefits up to the Federal Benefit rate.
*Extra credit point: you get an extra $20 because of an offset, bringing the maximum you can get up to $253.
Here’s the rub: if you get $800 from SSDI, you will probably get nothing from SSI, because you already are receiving more than the $733 Federal Benefit Rate in SSDI.
So, if you get both SSI and SSDI, you can get $20 more than from SSI alone. However, there are other advantages to getting both SSDI and SSI.