Can I receive both SSDI and SSI?

SSDI and SSI are both federal benefits that are available to people who are disabled and cannot work, and both rely on the same federal standard of disability.

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance, and it functions like an insurance plan for workers. SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and is a federal welfare program for the elderly, blind, and disabled.

For many people who receive SSDI benefits, the amount they receive in SSDI benefits puts them over the income threshold for SSI benefits (or they have other income), so they are not eligible for SSI benefits, which has an income threshold level of $783 per month for an individual and $1,175 for a couple as of 2020.

For people who receive SSDI benefits but their SSDI benefit amount is less than the SSI benefit amount, if they have no other income, then they can receive an amount in SSI benefits that brings their total benefit up to the SSI amount. So these people will receive both SSDI and SSI benefits. (Example: because of their limited work history, an individual is eligible for only $500/mo. in SSDI benefits. They would receive $283 in SSI benefits, for a total of $783.)

There is a five month waiting period to attain SSDI benefits, which may come into play in attaining both benefits. For example if someone became disabled on March 1, they would not receive SSDI benefits until August 1. If for example they were entitled to SSDI benefits of $1500, they would not be entitled to SSI benefits from August 1 forward, because their SSDI benefit amount would put them over the income limit for SSI benefits. But, if they have no other income, they may be eligible for SSI benefits for the five months from March 1 to August 1.