Should I Apply for
SSI or SSD or both?
SSD or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits are only available to individuals who have enough credits for earnings and recent enough credits for earnings. You can earn four credits per year by working. In 2023, you receive one credit for each quarter (three month period) you earn at least $1,640. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years to be eligible for SSDIB. This means you have to prove your disability within five years of when you stopped working due to your disability to get SSDIB.
SSI or Supplemental Security Income is available to individuals who do not have enough credits for work performed or recent enough work performed. It is a needs based program with strict limits on resources a recipient can have and still get benefits. The resource limit for an individual is $2,000 and for a couple it is $3,000. The home you live in and one vehicle if used for transportation are not counted against that resource limit. The income limit for SSI is $914 for an individual and $1,371 per month for a couple. However, not all income is counted against that limit. Generally, a couple can earn up to $2,400 before they are no longer eligible for SSI benefits.
You can receive concurrent SSI and SSDI benefits if the total of both payments is not higher than your highest SSI payment ($914 as of 2023). However, since not all income is countable toward the defined income limi8ts you may get as much as $1,500 and still qualify for SSI benefits.
Applying for SSDI and SSI makes sense for those people with disabilities who are unsure if they have enough credits for earnings or recent enough credits. It also makes sense for those people whose SSDI payment is less than the maximum Federal Benefit Rate of $914.
The other benefit of applying for both is to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. SSI recipients are eligible for Medicaid as soon as they qualify for disability. Whereas, SSDI recipients are eligible for Medicare two years after their disability onset date.
When in doubt - apply for both.