Being out of work can turn into a scary situation. The bills don’t stop coming in just because you aren’t getting a paycheck. There are support opportunities that may be able to help if you’re no longer working due to a medical condition. If your disability has become so severe that you’re forced to stop going to work, Social Security Disability (SSDI) may be able to help provide you with income.
To get started, you need to know some information about SSDI, its eligibility requirements, and how to apply. Furthermore, there are additional support opportunities that you can consider if you’re in a tough spot financially.
Reviewing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that offers monthly cash assistance to disabled individuals that cannot work. This insurance program is funded through payroll taxes and supports people with disabilities by offering them monthly benefits. The benefits that an individual can qualify for depend on the income they were making while they were working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers this support opportunity and other programs to people in need.
Eligibility Criteria for SSDI
To be eligible for SSDI, you must meet the criteria put in place by the SSA. Some of these requirements include:
- A medical disability that makes it extremely difficult or impossible for you to continue working for at least one year.
- Enough work credits from Social Security are earned throughout your employment history.
If you’re unsure whether you meet these criteria, consider using the SSA’s online tool called “Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool” (BEST). This can help determine if you are able to get any social security benefits including SSDI.
The Application Process
Applying for benefits with SSDI involves several steps:
- Gather necessary documentation: You need medical records, employment history information, and other relevant documents when applying for benefits.
- Contact your local Social Security office: Your local SSA office can get you an appointment to begin the process of applying. You can also go online to ssa.gov to submit an application.
- Once you have all the information and forms ready, submit your application to SSA for review.
Be sure to start the process of applying for SSDI as soon as possible if you think you qualify since it can be a long road. You can find out what sorts of information you need by checking out the Adult Disability Checklist offered by the SSA.
Timeline for Receiving a Decision
The time it may take to get a ruling on your SSDI claim can differ based on several factors. In general, applicants should anticipate a five-month window before receiving an answer. During this waiting period, it’s important to keep track of any changes in your condition or employment status. If there are significant changes that could affect your eligibility for benefits, make sure to let your SSA office know right away. This helps ensure their decision is based on accurate and up-to-date information about your situation.
Calculating Benefit Amounts
Your SSDI benefit amount depends on your personal situation. The SSA takes into consideration what you used to make while working. Your household status can also influence your benefits. In addition to those factors, inflation and cost of living adjustments (COLAs) are also taken into account. You can estimate how much money you might be eligible to receive in SSDI benefits per month, by using SSA’s online benefit calculators. Keep in mind that these are only estimates and may not reflect your exact benefit amount. As of 2023, a recipient of SSDI can get a maximum of up to $3,627 per month. Meanwhile, the average monthly payment is around $1,358.
Other Federal Programs to Consider Besides SSDI
SSDI benefits can bring much-needed relief to people who can’t work due to their medical conditions. However, individuals not eligible for SSDI may need to consider other forms of assistance. For example, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Section 8 housing vouchers may be available to those who qualify. These programs can help provide additional financial support during challenging times.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another government-funded program that offers support. The SSI aims to assist individuals who are disabled, have low income, face limited resources and more. Financial assistance for this program is based on an individual’s income and resources (things you own). Keep in mind there is a limit you must not exceed to qualify, but there may be exclusions to this requirement.
Differences between SSI and SSDI
While both programs look to help those in need, there are some key aspects that set them apart. The most significant difference is the qualifications for each program. For example, SSI does not have any requirements related to work history. Instead, it focuses on providing assistance to those who have limited income and resources.
In addition to this major difference, there are others to note as well:
- Benefit amounts: SSDI benefits depend on your past earnings while SSI payments are determined by your current financial situation.
- Funding source: SSDI gets funding from payroll taxes paid by employers whereas SSI uses general tax revenues to fund the program.
- Mandatory waiting period: There is a five-month waiting period before you can receive benefits under SSDI. Meanwhile, there is no mandatory waiting period for SSI.
Section 8 Housing Assistance
Finding affordable housing can be challenging. That’s where Section 8 housing assistance comes in handy. Section 8 housing vouchers are available to those who qualify. This allows people to access affordable and safe living options. The best part is that these vouchers can be provided with other forms of assistance, including SSDI! Vouchers are awarded to approved applicants to go towards rent expenses. Section 8 recipients are able to find their own rental property to live in that passes an inspection done by local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). Inspections are done to ensure the property is suitable. In addition to that, the landlord of the property needs to be willing to accept vouchers as rent payments.
Individuals with a qualifying disability and work history can benefit from monthly financial benefits offered by Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Benefits are calculated based on the individual’s previous earnings. Other factors are also considered when determining how much a recipient can receive. Applying for SSDI can seem complicated. However, there are multiple ways to go about the process.
If you’re unable to benefit from SSDI or you need additional financial assistance, you may want to consider other opportunities. Government programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Section 8 housing vouchers may be able to provide more relief. Remember that your situation can get better!