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Can I collect more than one disability benefit at a time?

Whether you've already been through the application process or have just started, you're like a lot of Americans who are now familiar with the Social Security Administration and the many complexities of its Social Security disability system.

Though this federal program assists hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities each year, few Americans truly know just how complicated and frustrating it can be for applicants to get their applications approved. Fewer still fully understand how each disability program works together or whether it's possible to collect financial assistance from more than one at the same time.

That's why, in this week's blog post, we wanted to address an important question that could easily be on the minds of our New York readers at this very moment: can I collect more than one disability benefit at a time?  For starters, the answer is yes, but you should know there are strict requirements that must be met in order for this to be true.  Let's take a look.

Most people are already familiar with the two main disability benefits programs, which are: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.  These programs both provide monetary benefits to people with disabilities after they have met the requirements listed for each program. 

While it's possible to receive both SSDI and SSI at the same time, you should know that SSA uses a complex mathematical means test that determines if a person has a low enough income for financial need.  If a person does not meet the requirements, they may not be able to collect both.

There are other ways though to collect disability benefits, such as through a private insurer or workers' compensation.  These benefits typically are paid out after suffering a workplace injury that later makes you unable to work.  While SSA does allow a person to collect disability payments from private sources with no affect to SSDI benefits, the same is not true for a person collecting workers' compensation or certain other public disability benefits.

As you may have realized, there are a lot of requirements and restrictions that are inherent in SSA's benefits programs that can leave just about anyone scratching their head.  This is why people often seek the help of a skilled attorney before and during the application process to make sure that they are getting the most out of their benefits in the end.

Source:  The Social Security Administration, "How Workers' Compensation and Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits," Accessed Dec. 5, 2014

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