Topic Categories:

Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Requirements for Disability

Applications for disability

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Winning Disability Benefits

Common Mistakes after a Denial

Mental Disability Benefits

Denials for Disability

Appeals for denied claims

Disability Benefits from SSA

SSI Benefits

Child Disability Benefits

Qualifications and How to Qualify

Working and Disability

Disability Awards and Notices

Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys

Social Security List of Conditions

What Social Security considers disabling

Medical Evidence and Disability

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

SSD SSI Definitions

Ask a question, get an answer

Do you file for Social Security Disability or SSI?

The best way to answer this question is to say that when you go to a social security office to file for disability, it will be simply that. You will be interviewed for a disability application and the program that the claim is taken in (social security disability or SSI disability) will be determined by the social security office.

How does social security determine which disability program you are eligible to receive benefits in? When you initially contact SSA, your social security number will be used to ascertain whether or not you have insured status for title II benefits. Title II benefits are social security disability benefits and you become eligible for them via having earned sufficient work credits, which are earned through work activity.

The number of work credits a person needs to be insured for title II benefits may vary depending on their age. Younger individuals will need fewer credits which makes sense; otherwise, a disabled twenty-two year old who has not been in the labor market long would never be able to qualify for disability benefits under title II.

A person can contact SSA regarding their work credits and insured status; however, this is really unnecessary since the disability program you are eligible to have a claim taken in will be determined for you when you contact SSA.

Individuals who do not have insured status for title II, or social security disability, can potentially have a disability application taken in the SSI disability program. SSI disability is designed to provide benefits who are too young to have earned enough work credits for SSD (such as children), individuals who have never worked (perhaps because they were a stay-at-home spouse or parent or caretaker), and individuals who were previously insured for title II benefits but, because they have not worked in a long time (possibly due to being out of the workforce for an extended period due to a disabling condition) have now lost their insured status and coverage for title II.

Can you file for both social security disability and SSI?

Yes, and it happens routinely all the time. Though, when it does many claimants may not necessarily realize that they are having their claim taken in both programs.

Claims taken in both programs are known as concurrent claims and they are taken when a person is insured for title II social security disability benefits, but would only receive a fairly small monthly disability benefit. In those cases, the social security administration may allow the claimant to file for SSI concurrently. The reasoning for this is that it may significantly increase the monthly benefit amount received by the claimant, assuming they are approved. In such cases, however, the total benefit they would receive each month would not exceed whatever is currently the maximum monthly SSI benefit.

Note: SSI is a program based on need and, specifically, this means that you cannot have more than two thousand dollars in countable assets (three thousand if you are married). Therefore, a concurrent claim cannot be taken when your total countable assets exceed the allowable limit.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria