The Social Security Administration runs both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, even though both of these programs serve disabled populations, they serve very different purposes and the qualifications are different.
Generally speaking, SSDI is for individuals who sustained an injury or illness that resulted in a disability later in life. These individuals have worked for several years prior to becoming disabled. On the other hand, SSI typically serves low-income individuals who are not able (and usually have never been able) to work due to lifelong disability. However, according to the Disability Benefits Center, in certain situations, it is possible for an individual to receive both SSDI and SSI payments.
How can I be eligible for both?
If the government gives you both SSDI and SSI, this is “concurrent benefits.” Receiving concurrent benefits is rare because in most instances payments from SSDI will render an individual ineligible for SSI.
Persons who are eligible for both SSDI and SSI typically have shorter work histories and have worked lower-paying jobs prior to sustaining career-ending disability. Essentially, your payments from SSDI must be low enough to not disqualify you from SSI, and this is rare for most Americans.
What are the benefits of both?
Of course, the major benefit is that if you get both SSDI and SSI you will end up with a higher monthly payment. However, one of the bigger benefits is that individuals on SSI receive instant access to Medicaid. On the other hand, individuals must be on SSDI for two years in order to have eligibility for Medicare.