When I apply for SSI Disability, why does Social Security require me to apply for other benefits?

By / March 3, 2016 / SSI Benefits / 63 Comments

Learn about SSI in relation to other benefits you may qualify for and about SSI’s requirement to apply for all benefits payable to you.

Supplemental Security Income
SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. Supplemental Security Income is a federal public assistance program for disabled individuals and people age sixty-five or older whose income and assets are below the SSI limits.

SSI is intended to supplement other benefits that you are eligible to receive. For this reason, when you apply for SSI, you will be required to apply for other benefits such as Social Security Disability, workers’ compensation, V.A. Compensation, and private retirement or disability benefits.  In addition to applying, you must pursue approval by providing everything the other benefit program requests for your application. If you are denied benefits because you did not fully pursue your claim for other benefits, your SSI benefits could be terminated. If you are denied for other reasons, you will usually be required to appeal.

Once you receive the other benefits, your SSI benefits will be reduced to supplement your other income or your SSI payments may terminate because your other benefits are higher than the SSI income limit.

When You May Be Eligible for Both SSI and SSDI
It is worth noting that individuals with Social Security benefits below the SSI income limit may be eligible for both Social Security and SSI on an ongoing basis, if their total income and assets fall within the SSI guidelines.

If your Social Security benefit is too high to receive ongoing SSI, you may be eligible for SSI for a limited period of time. Because financial eligibility for SSI is determined month by month and income counts only in the month it is received, a person who qualifies for a Social Security Disability benefit that is higher than SSI limits may be eligible for SSI for months that his or her Social Security claim was being processed and during the five-month waiting period for which no Social Security benefits are payable. When you file Social Security Disability, the Social Security Administration will automatically discuss your potential eligibility for SSI.

For more information about SSI, see our articles What Is Supplemental Security Income Disability—Also Known as SSI—and How Is It Different from Social Security Disability Insurance—Known as SSDI or SSD? and What Requirements Do I Have to Meet for SSI Disability Eligibility?

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  • Lisa

    Hello my grandson was just approved for 500 a month ssi , my daughter had to quit her job to care for my 3 year old grandson with severe autism, she also received 182.00 from the state of Massachusetts , can she receive any caregivers benefits since she cannot work, and what other benefits are available to her, last question, she just recieved a lump sum payout of 15000 from her old job , will this affect my grandsons payment, and if I help her as well? ( I’ve spoke to many people at social security and some are rude and not very helpful )! Thanks in advance for your response

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Lisa,

      Your grandson will be ineligible for SSI the month following the month his mother received the $15,000 payout from her retirement plan. The maximum countable resources she can have is $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple if she is married and living with her spouse or the child’s father). The excess counts towards your grandson’s $2,000 a limit. Your daughter can use all or part of the money to purchase an excluded item such as purchasing a home for her and her son to live in or purchasing a vehicle (one is excluded). Alternatively, some of the money could be spent for needed items such as car repair, dental care, clothing, etc. And, of course, some will be needed to pay for basics in the month or months the family is over the resource limit. If SSI has already been paid for months that the child was not eligible, she will need to repay the overpayment.

      Your daughter may live in a state that pays a small wage or stipend to individuals who care for a severely disabled relative. She can inquire at her local state or county social services office will stop with the approval for SSI and/or the receipt of the $15,000.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Dear Kay i was denied ssi ssd . I am appealing now . My question is now that its going thru hearing process they wont check to see if i can get ssi now with new evidence? I have no income right now.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Karen,

      You cannot file a new claim while you have a claim pending as an appeal. You can and should submit the new evidence for your pending hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Deb C.

    My son is looking into applying for SSI because of mental health disabilities. There is money in a 529 plan in his name that hasn’t been used because he had to drop out of college due to mental health issues. Will those monies count as resources and therefore cause his SSI to be denied? Thanks much.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deb,

      If you or your son’s father set up the plan for your son, the money in the account belongs to the parent who set it up and not to your son. Accordingly, if he is eighteen years of age or older, the account will not count as a resource for SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Deb C.

        The account is owned by my son & he is the beneficiary. It is not owned by anyone else.

        • Deb C.

          The reason is that I used SS survivor benefits my son was receiving after my ex died to fund the account and I reported that to SS each year when they asked how the funds were used. Then when he turned 18, they demanded that the account be re-registered with my son as the owner.

          • Kay Derochie

            Dear Deb,

            Based on what you are telling me, I think that the 529 plan bank account is probably a resource for SSI and that your son will not be eligible for SSI until he has used all but $2,000 of the the money to support himself. If he keeps exactly $2,000 interest payments will put him over the limit, so it might be advisable for him to retain a bit less than that. If he regains the ability to attend school, he can, of course, use some of the money for school expenses.

            Something else to consider is that if your son may be eligible to have his survivor benefits continued as Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB), which are payable to unmarried adult children who become disabled prior to age twenty-two. The account would have no effect on his eligibility for CDB benefits.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • Deb C.

            Thanks Kay. When you say disabled by 22, does that mean the disabling condition must be diagnosed before 22 or the person must be deemed disabled by Social Security by 22? Thanks so much for your help.

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Deb,

              You have to provide medical proof that the adult child became disabled before age twenty-two. Having a diagnosis before age twenty-two would be helpful to proving the disability. Accordingly, it is a good idea to get copies of medical and, if applicable, school records and keeping them until a parent starts to receive Social Security Retirement or Disability benefits or dies, because it can be difficult or impossible to get records years later.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

      • Deb C.

        Hello Kay. In your experience, how difficult is it to get disability for mental health reasons? We’ve applied to have my son’s survivor benefits continued as disabled adult child benefits on my ex-husband’s record but haven’t heard back yet. My thought, if it’s denied, is to hire an attorney and appeal.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Deb,

          Like with any other medical condition, whether or not a person is disabled due to mental health problems depends on how severally he is affected by his condition. If you believe your son qualifies and he is denied, appealing with an experienced Social Security attorney is appropriate. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front, and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Sheila

    My daughter just got approved for SSI. She is 21 and living at home. I would like for her to receive the maximum amount . I want her to pay her fair share of the bills. Although I have been taking care of her I have explained to her from the first application that I wanted her to pay her fair share. What do I tell the SSI representatives

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sheila,

      Calculate your total shelter expenses (and food expenses if you share food) and divide that figure by the number of people in the household. The result is your daughter’s share. Shelter expenses are shelter utilities (power, heat, water/sewer, and garbage) and rent or mortgage, property tax and, if required by the lender, property insurance. Once your daughter starts to pay her share (possibly using back pay), report the amount she is paying, when the payment started, and the total expenses. Submit copies of the utility and housing bills.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • Ricardo Griego

    I was told about being approved for SSDI by our case worker for the SNAP program she was reviewing our eligibility, and told my wife we were over the limit for medicaid and food stamps. I haven’t received a notice from SSA denial or approval but did receive from SSA about SSI. My questions are these I applied 04/01/2015 they reported that as of Dec 1 2015 that I was receiving 1200 dollars does that mean I will be receiving my money deposited soon? Also the letter from SSA about SSI we have been denied already because of the amount of money my wife makes. Do I need to comply with the letter since I know already that we won’t qualify? Could you explain when monies will be given for any backpay. Thank you for your time Ricardo

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ricardo,

      Social Security benefits are paid the month following the month for which they are payable. This means that if you are set up to receive benefits for December, they will not be paid until January. They will be paid on a Wednesday. Which Wednesday depends on the day of your birth. For example, if you were born on the 5th, you’d receive your benefits on the first Wednesday of the month. If you were born on the 23rd, it would be the 4th Wednesday. If you don’t actually receive any Social Security in December, your family might still be eligible for SNAP and Medicaid that month.

      I suggest that you investigate health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Your family might qualify for government subsidy to help with the premiums. The annual open enrollment period is in progress now through January 31. Also there is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Information about both programs is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      So I can try to answer your second question, could you clarify what you mean by “comply with the letter”? What is the letter asking you to do?

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Ricardo Griego

        Thank you Kay for responding to my letter. The letter I am asking about whether I need to comply with was the one sent to me by the Social Security Administration about applying for Supplemental Security Income, “SSI”, when as of December 16th, they had already stated to my wife that we would no longer be receiving with both my wifes income, and the SSDI that I will be receiving. So I am wondering if by not applying, will this affect my SSDI? Thank you so much for your time Kay. Ricardo Griego.

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Ricardo,

          Declining SSI will not affect your SSDI claim; however, it might be a good idea to inquire which months they think you are eligible for SSI just to be sure that you might not be eligible for SSI before SSDI starts. Also any SSI paid is not taxable. Some of the SSDI might be depending on family income.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  • Rhiannon Punzo

    I just had my disability hearing yesterday. My lawyer said she felt very good about how it went, and is very optimistic about a favorable decision. With that news I came home and tried to research the amount of benefits I’d be eligible to receive.

    I’ve been disabled for nearly 2 years. At the same time I have been going through a divorce. For the first year I didn’t receive any child support. I borrowed money from parents to pay rent and bills. I now recieve child support, but it just covers my rent. I still borrow from my parents for some bills. I owe my parents money back. Will all of this be considered when calculating my SSI benefits (when approved- thinking positively!)

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Rhiannon,

      Your income each month will be considered in determining your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment amount each month. The child support should be treated as your children’s income, not yours, and should not affect your claim. If the money from your parents is truly a loan and you present a written loan agreement that includes a statement of when the money is to be repaid and you have an accounting of everything your borrowed, the money may be treated as a loan and not affect your benefit amount. Otherwise, if the help from your parents is determined to be income, it will reduce your SSI payments.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Rhiannon Punzo

        Thank you, Kay!

        • Kay Derochie

          You are welcome, Rhiannon.

  • Amanda

    I applied for my son back in may as of friday the 6th they said it is still active and said I ahould be receiving a letter in the next 30 days as to an answer or why it’s taking so long.

    Should I be prepared to appeal?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      Some claims are taking a very long time to process. The claim could be approved or denied; how long it pends is not an indication of the final decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • ashlynn

    Hi miss may I wanted too no how long does it take for the ima to approve my daughter I applied June 2015 and it’s now September 26 September 24 my daughter had appt to see the doctor at ima the doctor told me she think my daughter need more help and that she think she should see a therapy do that mean she will get approve she have hhd and a learing problem

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ashlynn,

      The consulting doctor’s saying that your daughter needs more therapy does not necessarily mean that she is sufficiently impaired to be considered disabled. It is just advice. It usually takes a month or two after the examination to get a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • sharon

    Hi Kay
    thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      You are welcome, Sharon.

  • I applied for SSI for my 3 year old son with autism in March 2015 in the state of North Carolina. We just got a Medicaid card in the mail for him….I never applied for Medicaid for him one of the letters they sent said something about SSI told them something about his case. Everytime I call SSI they say a determination wasn’t made yet for SSI does he have a chance to receive SSI since he got approved for Medicaid???

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Ciara,

      Medicaid works a little bit differently in each state. It may be that in North Carolina if a child is financially eligible for SSI, a notice is sent to the state Medicaid office and the state’s Medicaid law allows Medicaid health insurance coverage for the child whether or not the child is found disabled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • sharon

    Hi Kay
    I received a letter from social security administration that states potential private retirement benefit information from the year 2000.
    I am going to notify my lawyer of this notice but I do have 3 questions for you……

    1. why do they check with irs when you apply for disability?

    2. does this mean my reconsideration can be approved?

    3.and why didn’t I get this letter on initial application

    Thank you

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Sharon,

      Part of the enforcement program used to be sure that only eligible people are paid and that they are paid the right amount is an automatic computer interface with the IRS. Apparently something was reported to the IRS about a retirement fund. If you received or can receive money from a private retirement account that accrued when you were working (the year 2,000?), it may count as a resource in determining whether you are financially eligible for SSI. If you have a claim pending, the inquiry could mean that you have been medically approved at the reconsideration appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • sharon

        The amount is 464.00 for the potential retirement acct.

        does that go against the amount i will get once approved for ssi/ssdi

        Thank you kay…..

        • sharon

          and yes kay I do have a claim pending at the reconsideration level

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sharon,

          If the total amount in the account is $464 and it is accessible, that amount will count toward your $2,000 resource limit. If your total countable assets are below the limit including the retirement account, it will not affect eligibility. If you mean that you could draw $464 a month from the account, your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be reduced by $444 a month if you have no other income.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • sharon

            Hi Kay
            No I dont have any income other than snap 194 a month,and i sent another reply letting you know the 464 i already recieved in 2000 when i left that company ,it is not a monthly payment

            thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sharon,

              If you are eligible for SSI, the $464 may or may not count as income in the month it was received. It’s being deposited to your account may be treated as moving a resource. Once you submit the information about the retirement account and distribution to the Social Security Administration, they will determine how to handle it.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • sharon

            Hi Kay
            My other response seem to be missing I have already received the 464 in the year 2000…..So this does not count against resources correct?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sharon,

              Please see my response of today, September 14, to your last inquiry.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

      • sharon

        Hi kay
        I have now found out that i did receive this money already in the year 2000 it was rolled over to my bank account at that time……so now how will this count in my claim that is pending? and i only applied for ssdi

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sharon,

          The money will not affect your Social Security Disability (SSDI) because SSDI payments are based on your earnings history not your current income or assets.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • sharon

            Hi Kay
            Thank you for all your responses sorry for the duplicate messages..

            If I get approved how long does it take to receive first ssi/ssdi payment?

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sharon,

              It will take from a couple weeks to a month or more to get the SSI started. Social Security will take another month or more after that and the SSDI back pay will come a couple months after the first SSDI monthly check. The SSI time frames will depend on the workloads in your area.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • sharon

            Hi Kay
            Thank You I am in the state of IL

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sharon,

              I don’t have information about backlogs in specific areas.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

          • sharon

            Hi Kay
            Thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Sharon.

          • sharon

            Hi Kay
            No children but thank you for all of the information I will have to be patient and wait for my hearing date and pray that I have somewhere to stay as this fight continues

            Thank you so much

            • Kay Derochie

              You are welcome, Sharon.

      • sharon

        Hi Kay
        I did not get approved at the reconsideration level my lawyer has now filed an appeal and He informed me that
        this could take a year to a year and a half…
        I have 2 questions for you

        1 Why do appeals take so long?

        2 How do we get income other than link doing this time?

        Thank you Sharon

        • Kay Derochie

          Dear Sharon,

          There is a backlog of hearing cases due to the number of people who appeal decisions. This causes a long wait time. With regard to your second question, I think there is a typographical error in it because I don’t understand the question. Please check it and ask the question again.

          Thank you,
          Kay

          • sharon

            Hi Kay
            Im sorry about that my second question was regarding income

            How do we get cash income while we wait for the appeals process?

            I recieve link and that is all no cash assistance i will be homeless before this appeal goes through

            thank you

            • Kay Derochie

              Dear Sharon,

              Unfortunately, most states do not have temporary disability benefits or other cash assistance for adults. If you have minor children in the household, apply for cash assistance at your nearest state or county social services office.

              Sincerely,
              Kay

  • Pito

    Hi,I start apply SSI on Feb 2015,when should I get my first check?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Pito,

      It typically takes two to five months to get a decision as to whether you meet the medical requirements to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. After that it can take a couple weeks to a month or more to get benefits started.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • brittany Woodruff

    I am 24 years of age and have congenital heart disease. Because of so little information my adopted parents did not file for disability and benefits were cut off at the age of eight. I am now suffering with being diagnose with multiple sclerosis four years back but every time I make a claim I’m denied due to lack of hospital records. There is so much confusionb when I am trying to make a claim the at I get discouraged.I am behind on hospital bills and really need some guidance what I should do. I do work but the last job I quit because of the heavy workload and now having to face the exact same problem on my current job. What to do please and thank you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Brittany,

      I suggest that while you are still working that you get all your medical records lined up. If you have to stop work because of your health or are earning less than $1,090 per month, then you will be prepared to file the application, only needing to gather recent records. When you request the hospital records you can minimize the cost of the copies by requesting only the admitting history and physical, the discharge summary, and test reports and surgical reports.

      I suggest also that if you file a new claim that you get legal assistance. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • I don’t know why I was so mis-informed,well,actually lied to,pertaining to my receiving both, ssdi and ssi. I wasn’t receiving enough with both checks to survice from one month to the other. After working all my life since the age of eight. When I was injured,also while working,and disabled for the rest of my life, I was 38 years of age. I signed up for ssdi, but then ssi sent me benefits too. Kind of like pouring salt in a wound. I went through basically the same thing when I applied fot my military

  • Linda Balles

    My boyfriend just got approved for SSDI according to the customer service rep at the Social Security Office. He has not received his letter yet. We received a letter from SSI stating they needed more information in order to determine if he qualifies; however, he did not apply for SSI and is not interested in it. He just wants his SSDI.

    This is my question. His attorney said it can take up to 4-6 months before he receives his first monthly SSDI payment and even longer for his back pay. Therefore he should apply for SSI? Is this true?

    Also do he have to accept SSI?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Linda,

      Your boyfriend needs more information before he decides to reject Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are many factors to consider.

      1. Depending on the timing of his application as related to the date he became disabled, he could be eligible for SSI in some months before the first month he is eligible Social Security Disability (SSDI) because Social Security doesn’t pay the first five calendar-months of disability.

      2. If all the SSI months overlap with SSDI months, then there could be nothing gained in terms of cash payments because his retroactive SSDI would be reduced by the retroactive SSI for the same months, but having Medicaid which often accompanies SSI eligibility could be a benefit to him.

      3. Is his Social Security low enough (less than $741) so that SSI (to supplement his SSDI) and Medicaid could be ongoing.

      As far as processing times goes, it does usually take one to three months to get SSDI back pay after getting the first monthlySSDI payment. If he refuses SSI outright, he will not have SSI to tide him over, but usually it takes less time for the first monthly SSDI to start.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  • How do I know if I have been okayed for SsI,I have a check in my account pending so I must be but don’t have any paper work yet.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cynthia,

      It is fairly common for the Social Security Administration to pay out your first Social Security or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) payment before sending a letter. A letter should come within two weeks, but if you would like to confirm your status and find out how much your ongoing benefits will be, you can call your local Social Security office or Social Security’s national toll-free number 1-800-378-1213 for an explanation.

      Glad you were approved.

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