Social Security, Disability Benefits
The possibilities of becoming disabled are higher than you might believe. According to studies, a 20-year-old worker has a one-in-four probability of becoming incapacitated before retirement age.
For more than 60 years, Social Security disability benefits have assisted a growing number of workers and their families in replacing lost wages. Several factors have contributed to this growth, which has been predicted by the Social Security Trustees and our actuaries for decades. For example, baby boomers have reached the age when they are most vulnerable to disability, and more women have entered the workforce in recent decades, working long enough to be eligible for benefits if they become injured.
Despite the rise, the 9 million or more persons receiving Social Security disability benefits constitute only a small portion of the country's disabled population.
Social Security offers two programs, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
It is a social insurance program in which workers work and pay Social Security taxes on their wages to be eligible for benefits. Benefits are provided to disabled workers and their dependents under the scheme. Our disability program helps persons who cannot work due to a disability by replacing some of their lost income.
The SSDI is funded by payroll taxes. Recipients have worked for years and paid into the Social Security trust fund through Social Security taxes – either through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act for workers or the Self-Employment Contributions Act for self-employed people. These taxes are converted into "credits" for Social Security. Even if they haven't worked, qualified dependents of a disabled worker may be eligible for benefits.
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have worked in Social Security-covered positions.
- Have a medical condition that qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits.
You must have worked long enough — and recently enough — under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits and meet the definition of disability.
Work credits for Social Security are calculated using your total annual salary or self-employment income. Each year, you can earn up to four credits.
The amount required for a work credit varies each year. For each $1,510 in wages or self-employment income in 2022, you will receive one credit. You've earned your four credits for the year when you've earned $6,040.
Your age determines the amount of work credits required to qualify for disability payments at the time of onset of your disability. In general, you'll need 40 credits, 20 of which must have been obtained during the last ten years before the start of your condition. On the other hand, younger workers may be able to qualify with less credits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a government program supported by general money from the United States Treasury. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but Social Security do not fund it. SSI is a government program that helps disabled individuals and children with limited income and resources.
As of November 2021, more than 7.7 million people received SSI benefits, including 2.3 million people aged 65 and older.
You must be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old and have extremely little financial resources to qualify for SSI. You may be eligible for SSI based on your information about your income, assets, citizenship status, and age or disability.
The maximum monthly benefit available from federal funding in 2022 will be $841 for an individual and $1,261 for an eligible couple. Because Social Security deducts "countable income" from the payment, you will not qualify for SSI if your countable income exceeds the values above.
The amount of SSI payments you receive is determined by your living situation and personal or family resources. Recipients must notify Social Security of any changes in their circumstances, such as a new job or raise in salary or a relative moving in and helping with household expenditures.
SSI is different from SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance. SSDI eligibility is determined by your medical condition and the length of time you worked and paid Social Security taxes. It is feasible to benefit from both programs at the same time.
Before You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, Here's What You Should Know
A representative from Social Security will interview you and fill up an application for disability benefits and an Adult Disability Report. The interview will take place either in person or over the phone at your local Social Security office. It will take at least an hour to complete.
You can shorten your interview time in half by starting the interview process online. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability to complete the benefits and disability report application online.
What criteria does Social Security use to determine if I am disabled?
The term "disability" is defined quite narrowly by Social Security law. To be found incapacitated, you must be unable to do any substantial employment due to your medical condition. Your medical condition must have lasted or be expected to last at least one year or result in your death.
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