You might not have to worry about losing your social security benefits if you go on disability. Depending on your situation, you could receive social security and disability benefits at the same time.

To understand how the details of these programs might apply to your case, you may need a little background. The interrelated requirements and technical terms can be somewhat confusing, even for those with experience in one system or the other.


As outlined by the Social Security Administration, the applications for many of the government’s support programs have similar requirements. For example, you would need to provide proof of your immigration status and proof of your medical eligibility for the disability program. This could take various forms.

Another requirement, although it may seem obvious, is that you must fill out your forms accurately and provide all the information necessary for the SSA to make a decision. Be thorough — it could be easier than you think to make a mistake. In fact, a fair proportion of initial rejections for disability claims occur due to application errors.


Adopting more specific terminology could help you understand all of these details. Terms such as “social security” and “disability”, while fine for everyday speech, will probably just confuse you when you get down to the details. Here are the main two benefits in this conversation:

  • Supplemental security income: support based on your financial need
  • Social security disability insurance: support based on your disability status

It is probably a good idea, for clarity’s sake, to refer to each one by its proper name — even if repeating the whole phrase seems tiresome or silly. Once you become comfortable with the differences between these two terms, you may want to shorten them to “SSI” and “SSDI”.

You are unlikely to understand these systems overnight. However, understanding is often necessary in order to get all of the benefits you need and deserve.