SSDI and SSI have a lot in common, sharing many of the same terms and concepts. But there are also significant differences between the two programs regarding how eligibility is determined and what benefits are ultimately paid. In some circumstances, an individual can receive both, known as concurrent benefits.
Is the SSDI benefit very low?
There are many factors affecting the amount of an awarded SSDI benefit. Sometimes the confluence of those factors can result in a monthly benefit that is low.
An applicant may have worked very little, if at all, for the previous 10 years. They may have had a minimal work history at the time they became disabled. They may have become disabled at a young age, before they accumulated a significant work history. Or they may have earned a low wage throughout their work history.
SSI can make up a shortfall of SSDI benefits
Unlike SSDI, SSI is not based on work history. Rather, eligibility for SSI is based on income and resources. It is possible for an individual to qualify for both programs and be awarded a relatively low SSDI benefit but high SSI benefit.
In California, the maximum SSI benefit paid to most single, independent, disabled adults is $954. If an individual is eligible for both SSDI and SSI, but the SSDI benefit falls short of $954, SSI can be collected to make up the difference.
The eligibility rules for SSDI and SSI are complex. An individual may qualify for one or the other and sometimes both. When they qualify for both, there are instances when they are entitled to concurrent benefits. Seeking the assistance of a qualified attorney will help to navigate these rules and ensure that SSDI and SSI benefits are paid correctly.