You can not choose which benefits you take - if you qualify for both, you are required to take the SSDI and then SSI will make up any difference between the SSDI rate and SSI rate. You can not elect to take just the SSI because it is need based, and Social Security is required to pay you the disability benefits and recuce that amount from what your "need" level is for SSI. Plus, as my colleague points out, there are benefits like medicaid and medicare, and refusing part of the benefits from SSDI or SSI could mean you lose eligibility for the medical benefits you might need.
I hope this helps. Best of luck to you.
The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.
It sound like you have already had a hearing. If you have, you will be receiving a written explanation of your benefits. The amount you receive is based on many different considerations: your work history, past wages, present income and assets, etc. Without knowing your individual circumstances, there is no way to "guesstimate" if you will receive the maximum award.
If you have not already had a hearing, and in some instances even if you have had a hearing, you can contact your local social security office and speak with a representative who has access to your wages, work history, etc and he or she can give you an estimated benefit amount.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER Nothing in this Answer should be construed to create an attorney-client relationship or relied upon as legal advice. You should always review an attorney's accreditations before making a decision about hiring an attorney. REQUIRED CIRCULAR 230 TAX ADVICE DISCLAIMERS: 1. Nothing contained in this message is intended or written to be used, can be used, or may be relied upon by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. 2. Any written statement contained in this message relating to any Federal tax transaction or matter may not be used by any person to support the promotion or marketing of or to recommend any Federal tax transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed in this message. INTENT NOT TO BE BOUND: The sender of this transmission does not intend to create or be bound by any agreement that otherwise might arise pursuant to any international, federal or state law. Including but not limited to the Electronic Signature Act.
Cowboy...you "can" qualify for both under certain circumstances. dont limit yourself to only SSI when you may qualify for both. Remember SSI gives you Medicaid, but SSD gives you access to Medicare (after a waiting period). medicare can help you in ways medicaid can not. if you qualify for both, dont assume that you prefer one over another without talking to an atty or a SS rep.