Handling everyday expenses can be hard for many people, especially those with low incomes. It gets even harder for seniors and people with disabilities. They might require extra assistance. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the support options available. There are plenty of opportunities that can help with different situations. One of the greatest sources of support is the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you are not familiar with this federal agency, you might be missing out on a lot of money.
How Can the SSA Help You?
The SSA is a government agency that mainly supports disabled people and the elderly by working to protect them financially. To achieve their goals, they provide a number of assistance programs to those who qualify. These programs mostly include retirement and disability benefits. A few examples of these programs include the following:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Retirement Benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
A disability may make it challenging for people to secure a stable source of income. For this reason, it’s important to have a program supporting people struggling to make ends meet because of their disabilities. SSDI is one particular support opportunity that SSA offers to help disabled people who have insurance. However, not just any person with a disability can qualify for this opportunity. They have to meet the SSA’s definition of a disability. In order to determine if your condition qualifies for SSDI, the SSA will take into consideration the answers to the following questions:
- Do you have a job?
- Is there any other sort of work you can do?
- Does the condition show on the SSA’s medical conditions list?
- Is your condition “severe”?
- Are you unable to perform previous duties as a result of your current health situation?
In addition, the SSA looks at the applicant’s work history when determining eligibility. One of the most interesting advantages of this program is the fact that its benefits are not only available to the person with the disability–their family members can also get benefits if they qualify! This includes children, spouses, divorced spouses, and adult children with disabilities up to the age of 22.
The SSDI Benefit Amount
The SSDI benefit is not a fixed amount of money for everyone. It varies from one participant to another according to certain factors. Some people might think that the severity of their condition will affect how much they can get from this program. However, that’s not true. Instead, you should expect that the covered money you earned from work may affect your SSDI benefit amount. In fact, the SSA uses your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) to calculate the benefits you can receive. If you are not familiar with what “AIME” means, it refers to your average insured income over a specific period of time.
$1,483 is the average SSDI benefit that most participants should expect to receive in 2023. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will get this amount of money. The payment you will get might be lower or higher than this number. However, it can’t exceed the maximum amount of $3,627 (as of 2023). As long as you are under the full retirement age (FRA), you will continue to receive your SSDI payments. Once you reach that age, the regular Social Security retirement payments will replace SSDI benefits. (Later in this article, we will explain Social Security retirement benefits in detail.)
The SSDI Application Process Explained Step-by-Step
Before diving into the application process, there is something you should keep in mind. To be eligible for SSDI, an applicant has to meet two major requirements. These requirements include the following:
- Dealing with a qualifying disability
- Having had a Social Security-insured job
If you meet these two requirements, you can start the application process. You can do that online, in person, or by calling. Regardless, you should expect this process to be different depending on the state. However, it typically starts with preparing your paperwork. The documents you must provide should have the information required to fill out your application. You can check out the Adult Disability Checklist to find out which documents you will need for the application.
Once you finish filling out your application, you should submit it to the SSA for review. The SSA will look at the information you provided, including your employment history and any ongoing work activities, to determine your eligibility. At this point, the SSA’s role is over. It hands off the process to the Disability Determination Services office in your state to handle. As soon as the Disability Determination Services office receives your case file from the SSA, they use the information it provides to determine whether you should receive disability benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
If you have a disability and are low-income, you might be able to get assistance from SSI along with SSDI. That’s because this SSA program aims to help those with disabilities as well. As a result, both programs might be similar in some aspects, although they are two different programs. One of the main differences between the two programs is the fact that SSI also targets another group of low-income people. This includes seniors the age of 65 or older, even if they don’t deal with any medical condition.
When it comes to applying for SSI, you will find that the application process is almost the same except for the requirement for the elderly with no disabilities. The eligibility requirements are available online for anyone to check out before applying. If you were found eligible and your application was accepted, you will start receiving monthly benefits. However, the amount of money you will receive will not exceed the maximum SSI payment for 2023, which goes as follows:
- Eligible couples can receive up to $1,371
- An eligible individual can receive up to $914
- An eligible essential person can receive up to $458
Social Security Retirement Benefits
The word “retirement” in the title may give you a hint about who can benefit from this opportunity. When people reach the age of retirement, which is typically 62, they can start receiving these benefits. These benefits act as a replacement for a portion of the beneficiaries’ salaries they used to get from their jobs. This way, they will be able to afford their daily needs.
Not everyone will receive the same amount of benefits. This is because an individual’s highest 35 years of earnings mainly affect the benefit amount. Nonetheless, the SSA set the maximum benefit for 2023 to be $4,194. This means that some people will receive this number and others will receive less.
If you are going through financial hardships, especially if you’re a senior or a disabled person, you may find some relief in the SSA support programs. This includes SSDI, SSI, and Social Security Retirement Benefits. Since each of these programs is designed to help a different group of people, it’s important to understand how each one works. You should remember that the SSA is a great source of information and assistance. So, don’t hesitate to contact them if you are having trouble handling the application process or if you simply want to learn more about any of their available opportunities.