It is not necessarily a Disadvantage to Apply for SSD and SSI simultaneously

"When my (work) disability payments ran out I applied for public assistance (there was no other choice). When I applied for SSD, I was told that I "had" to apply for SSI in addition to SSD. Now that I have been approved, for both SSI and SSD, I have been told by SSA that the SSI back payments will be sent to public assistance. They are calculating the SSI backpay first so that public assistance can get their money back. Then the SSD will be calculated and the SSI amount (that was forwarded to public assistance) will be deducted from the SSD backpay. I understand that if I got public assistance it is reasonable that the State should get its money back. I just want people to be aware that SSA will make people (on public assistance) apply for SSI to ensure that the government will get their money back. If I had only applied for SSD the State would not be able to touch that money."

I am not sure what you are trying to make people aware of. However, SSI back payments are not sent to public assistance and it does not matter whether or not you apply for SSI (unless you are applying for Medicaid).

Social Security takes applications for both programs concurrently because it is beneficial to the disability applicant. Social Security Disability has a five-month waiting period that begins the month after an individual has stopped performing substantial work activity (unless the individual stopped work on the first day of a month, then the waiting period begins with the month substantial work activity) for which they never pay benefits.

If an individual meets the income and resource limits of the SSI disability program they may be able to receive SSI disability benefits for those months. When an If an individual receives a SSI back payment, the amount of that payment is deducted from any back payment of Social Security Disability benefits.

SSI disability is a need based program; it is reasonable to expect that the amount of the SSI back payment will be repaid from the Social Security Disability back payment.

In the end, it is not a disadvantage to file for both SSI and SSD disability benefits simultaneously if you meet the income and resource limits of the SSI disability program. In fact, it may be advantageous to file for SSI disability even if it allows only enables you to receive SSI disability benefits for the five-month Social Security Disability waiting period. You will receive the same amount of money and you may receive Medicaid coverage for the months you are eligible for SSI disability benefits. In some cases, you may be eligible for Medicaid payment of medical bills accrued six months prior to date you filed for disability benefits.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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