Can I switch from SSI to SSDI?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 04/08/2016 - 18:12

I'm legally blind and receive SSI because I became disabled before I had any work credits. I've been self-employed since 2012 and believe I'll have enough credits for my age soon. Once I get enough credits for my age, can I switch from SSI to SSDI as long as my earnings don't exceed the limit for SSDI eligibility?

Fri, 05/06/2016 - 16:54 Permalink

Hi there,
If you are on SSI, it is unlikely that you have been earning enough to later qualify for SSDI. If you do somehow have enough work credits, you can actually earn both at once if your SSDI benefits are less than $733 per month. You can look at our chart on work credits to determine exactly how many you need to qualify:

Phillip (not verified)
Wed, 06/29/2016 - 04:56 Permalink

How do you determine how many work credits that you have?


In reply to by Phillip (not verified)

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 16:31 Permalink

Hi Phillip,
This will depend on how much income you earn. You earn one work credit per $1,220 of taxable income you've made, but you can only get four per year. So if you've been making at least $5,000 per year, you will have enough work credits to qualify.

Anonymous (not verified)
Fri, 07/21/2017 - 21:21 Permalink

I have a permanent condition that causes my disability and am under 24. I have been receiving SSI since I was 18. I am a recent college graduate and working towards my career. Do I understand the chart correctly, that if I earn 6 work credits before I turn 24 then I qualify for SSDI? My SSI is adjusted to $627.50 because I have $83.50 earned income so does that mean I may qualify for both SSI and SSDI since my SSI is under $733? Also please explain Diversions since my most recent NOD for SSI mentions HMA $735 under diversions. Thank you.


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 08:54 Permalink

Hi there,
You may be eligible for SSDI benefits, however the amount you would receive would be based on the amount you had paid in. If you get SSDI benefits, you would qualify for SSI benefits if the amount you receive for SSDI is less than $735. Also, Diversions may be a part of the benefits that you receive from your state, so you may want to contact the office than handles benefits in your state for more information.

DJM (not verified)
Wed, 09/27/2017 - 20:59 Permalink

I recently was on SSI age 63; can you switch to SSDI after a disabilty with a heart attack and Dialysis 3-times a week?


In reply to by DJM (not verified)

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 09:14 Permalink

Hi There,

Those conditions may qualify you for SSDI. In certain cases actually one can receive SSI And SSDI at the same time.

Joe (not verified)
Fri, 01/26/2018 - 03:15 Permalink

I’m 40, I have been on ssi for 5 years or more, I was short a few credits to qualify for ssdi, I had not worked the past 9-10 years until this year I earned 6000$ getting 4 credits- if I now or in the future have enough credits can I upgrade to ssdi? Or will they say I don’t have enough in the right time period or what? In general is it possible to go from ssi to ssdi if u start earning credits while on ssi??

Ruth Parson (not verified)
Sun, 04/01/2018 - 18:14 Permalink

Actually asking for a friend: Who has had severe mental illness since childhood. He has been receiving SSI since moving out of a state mental hospital. He has worked on and off at supported part time paid work, for which he paid taxes, for about 15 years. Over the last three years he has worked steadily at the same part time job. He is interested in switching from SSI to SSDI, is this possible? His mental illness is chronic and he manages his illness with medication and therapy. He has never worked full-time and we are concerned that an increase in hours could exacerbate his anxiety and illness. Thank you in advance of your response.


In reply to by Ruth Parson (not verified)

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 16:19 Permalink

Hi Ruth,

Generally, those mental illness cases are tough to win for SSDI. However, if he has enough work credits, he could be able to qualify for SSDI.

karen fiste (not verified)
Tue, 06/18/2019 - 08:50 Permalink

My son is 31 and has cerebral palsy has not worked and he gets SSI can he get full disabitity

GC (not verified)
Wed, 06/19/2019 - 13:20 Permalink

I had a stroke and have not been able to work in 3 years. I have work credits from my past jobs. But not being able to work I was put on SSI. How can I receive SSI?


In reply to by GC (not verified)

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 16:41 Permalink

Hi GC,

You should look over the SSA's Blue Book with your doctor to make sure you meet a listing. Then when you are ready to apply, you can apply online or visit your local SSA office to apply in person (make an appointment before you go!). Best of luck!

Anonymous (not verified)
Thu, 06/27/2019 - 08:49 Permalink

I've been on ssi for two years I'm 51 can I get ssdi


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 14:57 Permalink

Hi there,

It all depends if you have a sufficient amount of work credits. If you do, then you could qualify for SSDI benefits.

Denise (not verified)
Wed, 08/07/2019 - 13:28 Permalink

I am 61 & on SSI and am wondering can I switch to SSDI... I was denied before but now my health is much worse. I’ve worked but I haven’t in over 10 years. Is that an absolute requirement?

Sara Moore (not verified)
Wed, 09/04/2019 - 22:34 Permalink

If I receive SSI now, but am returning to work part time this month earning 1000/month steadily as I plan to do over the next 5 years (which equals at least 20 credits), will I be able to apply for SSDI by the time I’m 40? Can you upgrade from SSI to SSDI if you are working part time while still receiving SSI?

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