What Other Benefits Can I Get With SSDI?

If you get Social Security Disability Insurance, you may get other federal benefits, private benefits and tax breaks.
Roberta Pescow
By Roberta Pescow 
Published
Edited by Dalia Ramirez

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) isn’t the only benefit you can claim if you have a disability. You can qualify for other benefits while receiving SSDI, including Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, Medicaid, private and employer disability insurance, disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), food and heating assistance and more.

Other federal programs

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Social Security Administration (SSA) benefit program that provides a financial benefit to adults and children with disabilities and nondisabled adults older than 65 with limited income and resources

New Jersey Department of Human Services. Division of Disability Services. Accessed Jul 21, 2023.
. Many people who receive SSDI are also eligible to receive SSI payments.

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for those 65 and older and those with disabilities and end-stage renal disease. The program covers hospital care (Part A), medical care (Part B) and prescription drugs (Part D).

Receiving SSDI makes you eligible for Medicare. There are a few exceptions, but typically, a 24-month waiting period for Medicare starts when you first receive SSDI

Social Security Administration. Medicare Information. Accessed Jul 21, 2023.
.

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Medicaid

Medicaid is a health care program that provides medical coverage to low-income adults, children, older adults, pregnant people, and people with disabilities. The program is funded jointly by state and federal governments and administered by individual states.

If you receive SSI, you may automatically be eligible for Medicaid. In many states, the SSI application is also a Medicaid application, but in some states, you may have to apply separately for Medicaid and SSI.

Food and energy benefits

If your income is limited, you may be eligible for benefits that help pay for necessities like food and heat. These include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP benefits supplement the cost of groceries for low-income families. These benefits are disbursed on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that works like a debit card in authorized food stores. Those receiving SSDI or SSI may also be eligible to receive SNAP.

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This federally funded program subsidizes heating, cooling and other energy costs. If you receive certain benefits, including SNAP and SSI, you may be automatically eligible for LIHEAP.

Veteran benefits

If you’re a disabled veteran, you may qualify for a VA disability benefit. The amount you receive depends on how severe your disability is and whether you have dependents. VA disability and SSDI are not affected by one another, and you may be able to receive both benefits.

Nongovernment benefits

Private insurance benefits

If you bought disability insurance from a private insurer before becoming disabled, you may be eligible for monthly payments of a certain percentage of your wages. Private insurance payments don’t affect your SSDI; you can receive both benefits.

Employer-provided benefits

  • Workers' compensation. Most businesses are required to provide some wage replacement, medical treatment and disability compensation if you become disabled because of something that happened while working. Receiving workers’ compensation will only reduce your Social Security disability payments if the combined amount of these benefits is more than 80% of your average earnings before you became disabled

    .

  • Disability insurance. Many employers in the private sector offer workers short- or long-term disability insurance. These plans can pay a percentage of your salary if your disability prevents you from working. Short-term plans typically pay for three months to a year, while long-term policies can pay from 90 days to years or even for life.

  • Government employees. Government and civil service positions may also offer disability insurance. The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) covers most civilian federal employees, providing disability, retirement and survivor benefits. State governments also may provide disability benefits for their employees.

Tax benefits

People with disabilities may be eligible for certain tax breaks and benefits:

  • Reduced or waived income tax on your SSDI income. If you don’t have other substantial income besides your SSDI and your total provisional income totals less than $25,000 annually (or less than $32,000 for joint filers), you won’t owe any income tax on your SSDI. If you exceed these limits, you’ll still only owe income tax on up to 85% of your SSDI, depending on your income. SSI benefits are not taxable.

  • Earned income tax credit. The EITC is a tax break for low-income families and individuals (including those with disabilities). This credit can reduce what you owe in income taxes or increase your refund amount. SSI, SSDI and military disability pensions don’t count toward your income when you claim an EITC

    Social Security Administration. Disability and the Earned Income Tax Credit. Accessed Jul 21, 2023.
    .

  • Extra tax exemptions or deductions. The IRS offers an increased standard deduction for those who are legally blind and other tax breaks for those with physical or mental disabilities.

How to increase your SSDI benefit

There are a few ways to increase your SSDI benefit:

  • Your spouse, minor child or adult child, who became disabled before age 22 may be eligible to receive benefits on your record, which increases your total family income. You may also qualify for survivor’s benefits on a family member’s record if your eligible spouse, dependent parent or child has died.

  • Request to have your benefit recalculated if you feel the amount of your SSDI is incorrect and the SSA didn’t include all your income in its calculations.

  • Wait for your benefit to increase yearly when the SSA applies its annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA).

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Frequently asked questions

If your application is approved, you must wait five months before you can begin receiving payments, so you should receive your first payment in the sixth full month after the SSA learns of your disability. If you previously received SSDI benefits, the five-year rule can waive this waiting period.

In most cases, if you’re receiving SSDI, you can’t also receive Social Security retirement benefits. When you reach full retirement age, your SSDI will automatically convert to a retirement benefit.

One of the most comprehensive listings of benefits nationwide, including those for people with disabilities, is benefits.gov. This online tool allows you to tailor your search by the desired benefit type and state. The National Council on Aging also offers information on a variety of benefits. You may also want to contact your state or local government to learn about benefits programs specific to your area.

No. Any disability payments you receive from private sources (such as private insurance or pensions) don’t affect your SSDI.

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