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US Government Information/Moving from SSI to Full Disability


Hello Darlene,

I don't know if you can answer this, but here's hoping!

My disability case received a fully favorable decision from the ALJ. However, I was only given SSI due to a lack of work credits. It would be natural for me to lack them because my disability began to manifest at age 17, and I only managed to work a little while before finally applying for and winning my case years later.

Is there any way to "upgrade" (for lack of a better word) from SSI to regular disability? My disability is for life with no hope of cure, and SSI just isn't liveable upon without help.

Thanks for your advice.

You could receive regular disability if you were able to work and earn enough credits.  Your earnings from working would affect your SSI benefit as the payment is based on monthly income including earnings from working. If you did earn enough credits to receive regular disability,  there is a good chance that the regular disability would be less than the SSI monthly benefit.  In that case, they pay the regular disability first and then make up the difference from the SSI program so that your combined benefit is at least the amount of the SSI benefit.  There is a $20 unearned income exclusion; therefore, a person who receives both will get about $20 more per month than a person that receives SSI only.  

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Darlene Oldendick


Social Security retirement planning and all questions about Social Security eligibility and entitlement.


Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years


33 years employment with the Social Security Administration

Awards and Honors
Many outstanding performance awards while employed at the Social Security Administration

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