The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two
important financial assistance programs that provide benefits for people that
become disabled and are unable to work.
The SSA offers benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance
(SSDI) program to
According to the SSA, a twenty-year-old American worker has a three-in-ten chance of becoming disabled before he/she reaches retirement age.
SSDI is funded from taxes collected by Social Security from
Persons eligible to receive SSDI benefits include:
The benefits paid to a divorced spouse will not reduce the benefits of the insured worker or any benefits owed to his/her present spouse or children.
The insured worker’s Social Security earnings record is what will ultimately decide the amount of the monthly benefit payment.
The SSA relies on two different earnings tests when considering qualifications for SSDI benefits, they include:
SSI is a Federal income supplement program created to provide financial assistance to disabled persons that have limited income and resources. It provides money to help individuals and families meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The program is financed through general tax revenues and not by Social Security taxes. Persons or families of disabled individuals must meet financial and living arrangement requirements to be eligible for SSI. Some state supplement SSI benefits payments so the amount may vary from one state to the next.
Persons eligible to receive SSI benefits include:
The SSA does not consider all the income a person earns when deciding if a candidate qualifies for SSI.
The SSA excludes the following sources of income when considering the financial qualifications of a candidate:
It can take three to five months for the SSA to reach a decision on a disability claim. The nature of the disability, the response time from the claimant’s physician, whether the SSA requires supporting evidence of the disability, or if the SSA requires a quality assurance review of the decision can all add to the claim evaluation time.
Social Security retirement benefits are paid to people that have paid into Social Security through the FICA program. The amount of benefit payment is based on the individual’s earnings averaged over most of the worker's lifetime. The benefits are available to persons 62 years of age or older.
The worker’s actual earnings are indexed or adjusted to reflect changes in the average of wages received by the worker since the beginning of his/her earnings. The SSA will then calculate the average monthly indexed earnings during the highest grossing 35 years of the worker, when he/she earned the most. The SSA applies a calculated formula to determine the primary insurance amount (PIA) or the basic benefit amount.
The PIA is what a worker will receive if he/she retires at full retirement age. Full retirement age varies depending on the year you were born. Anyone born in 1937 or earlier reaches full retirement age at 65. After that, full retirement age gradually increases until it reaches the age of 67 for anyone born after 1959. If a person chooses early retirement at age 62, they will receive 75% of the total monthly benefit payment. Benefits for a spouse at full retirement age are 50% of the full benefits paid to the qualifying spouse but benefits for a spouse at early retirement age are 35% of the full benefits paid to the qualifying spouse.
Medicare offers healthcare coverage to people with certain disabilities, most persons age 65 or older, and anyone suffering from permanent kidney failure that requires regular dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant (End-Stage Renal Disease).
The four basic parts of Medicare are:
Even though these benefits have been designed to help people in need, the SSA scrutinizes claims for Social Security benefits and in the process refuses some well deserving applicants. Ramped corruption and abuse of these benefits have led to the stringent review process now in place.