While Social Security disability benefits are a good way for recipients to defray their medical and living expenses, they are not always enough. Here, the disability advocates at Disability Associates explain ways to supplementing Social Security disability benefits.


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI) are two government cash assistance programs on which disabled individuals rely, however, the qualifications for each are very different. Knowing which one you have will help you better understand if there are other benefits you may be able to earn.

SSDI is funded through payroll taxes, and available for those younger than 65 and with a minimum number of work credits—generally 40, although fewer may allow younger recipients to qualify.

After receiving SSDI payments for two years, recipients will be eligible for Medicare benefits, which can help defray the costs of medical treatment. A disabled recipient’s spouse and children may receive partial, or auxiliary benefits.

Conversely, SSI is a needs-based program, and only available to those with minimal assets. Disabled applicants must not have more than $2,000 in assets, or $3,000 between a couple, and only make $735 per month as an individual, or $1,103 a month as a couple. T

hose who qualify for SSI also qualify for Maryland Medicaid, and are likely to qualify for food stamps, helping to lessen the burden of medical and living expenses.

Other Supplements to Social Security Disability Benefits

Regardless of whether you receive SSDI or SSI, there are other ways to mitigate your daily expenses. As long as you do not exceed the monthly income limits established for SSI, you may continue to work as your health condition allows. Babysitting, holding flea markets, running errands for friends and family and other small jobs can be great ways to make extra income without straining yourself excessively.

Income-based housing is also available to those who make less than $31,900 as an individual in the state of Maryland. This can greatly reduce the living costs, as rent and mortgages make up a substantial part of many individual’s monthly expenses. Public housing can have long waiting lists, so it is important to submit your application early.

As medical costs are another large part of disabled people’s expenses, asking your doctor for samples of medication can be a useful way to lower your costs. Companies often provide samples to doctors, in the hopes that they will prescribe them to their clients. Ask your doctor if they have samples of any medications you require.

There are other, smaller ways of supplementing your disability benefits income which still have a large impact. Using coupons to purchase groceries can help you save substantially on food costs, and there are several Maryland programs that lessen the cost of transportation for disabled individuals, including Reduced Fare programs, Paratransit and MDOT.

We Want to Be Your Advocate

At Disability Associates, our firm’s goal is to provide the representation and advocacy disabled individuals require. Our experienced and dedicated attorneys are there to guide you through the Social Security disability process every step of the way. For more information, we urge you to contact us today!