There are 2 disability programs administered by Social Security Administration: Title II, Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI) and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI). RSDI benefits are entitlement-based benefits. Workers pay into this system through their FICA taxes. It is a form of insurance. SSI is need based. One need not ever have worked to become eligible for benefits.
In many instances, a disabled worker may apply for both categories of benefits. Such a dual application is known as a concurrent claim. However, if it is determined that the worker is medically eligible for benefits, payments of one category of benefits will offset the other.
In other words, a claimant who receives SSI benefits will have future RSDI payments reduced to prevent an overpayment. The amount of reduction is known as an “offset.” The amount of the offset is equal to the difference between the SSI payment that was paid, and the SSI payment that would have been paid had the RSDI benefits been paid on time.
Typically, from the perspective of SSA regulations, the receipt of RSDI benefits completely obliterates the “need” for SSI benefits. Receipt of RSDI benefits, in other words, is usually deemed to satisfy the need upon which the welfare system is based. In other words, one receiving RSDI benefits is deemed to have risen above the level of need required by the SSI system.
So, what is the benefit of filing for both types of benefits?
RSDI benefits for workers and widows usually cannot begin for 5 months after the established onset of the disability. Therefore, Social Security disability benefits will be paid for the sixth full month after the date the disability began.
Under SSI, on the other hand, disability payments may begin as early as the first full month after the individual applied or became eligible for SSI. The 5-month waiting period does not apply.
So, one who receives concurrent benefits will begin to receive SSI benefits first. Later, when the RSDI benefits kick in, it will be determined that the claimant is no longer entitled to SSI, and a notice of change in SSI payments will be sent to the claimant.
In addition, an SSI applicant may be found “presumptively disabled or blind,” and receive cash payments for up to 6 months while the formal disability determination is made. The presumptive payment is designed to allow a needy individual to meet his or her basic living expenses during the time it takes to process the application. If it is finally determined that the individual is not disabled, he or she is not required to refund the payments. There is no provision for a finding of presumptive disability or blindness under the Title II program.