Experienced Disability Lawyers

Concurrent benefits through SSD and SSI

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2024 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are two programs administered by the Social Security Administration that are meant to provide benefits for people who are not able to work full time because of an illness, injury or other condition. While they share the same goals, the two programs have different eligibility requirements and they calculate their benefits differently.

SSD eligibility and benefit amounts are based on an applicant’s health condition and work history. For example, if an applicant worked for 20 years before becoming totally disabled in an accident, they are eligible for benefits and their benefit amount is based on their wages before they were injured.

By contrast, the SSI eligibility and benefit amounts are based on the applicant’s health condition, resources and income. For example, an applicant might be eligible for SSI because of a partial disability. Their benefits may be their only source of income, or they may be able to earn some income through a part-time job. However, if they do earn some income, their SSI benefit amount is reduced. If their income reaches the level that the Social Security Administration calls “Substantial Gainful Activity,” then their benefits end.

Concurrent benefits

Generally speaking, SSD is for people who became disabled after having sufficient work history and SSI is for people who did not have sufficient work history. This means that most recipients get one type of benefit or the other. However, there are people who are eligible for benefits from both programs. The Social Security Administration refers to these as concurrent benefits.

When a person receives concurrent benefits, the amount they receive in SSI benefits is reduced.

Cost of living adjustments

If you receive SSD and/or SSI benefits, your benefit amount does not necessarily stay the same forever. Every year, the Social Security Administration adjusts the amounts of benefit payments to account for inflation and other economic changes. This change is known as the Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA.

The most recent COLA adjustment means SSD and SSI recipients saw their benefits go up by 3.2% last December.

Expanded eligibility

Another recent change could also help more people receive benefits.

When determining if a person is disabled for the purposes of SSD and SSI, the Social Security Administration considers occupations in which the applicant could work. For instance, an applicant might no longer be able to work in a warehouse after a severe back injury, but they might be able to get a job in the front office. The Social Security Administration might look at this situation and determine that the applicant does not qualify as disabled because they could get work in another occupation.

Recently, the Social Security Administration eliminated 114 such occupations from its list, saying that these jobs are available only in very limited quantities. The list includes a wide variety of occupations such as artist’s model, livestock rancher, canary breeder, scuba diver and geographer.

By eliminating these occupations as possible alternative careers for applicants, the Social Security Administration may expand the number of applicants it considers disabled, and therefore eligible for benefits.