The Social Security retirement benefit, disability benefit and death benefit are given by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to its insured members. These are individuals or employees who have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and who have earned the number of credits required by the SSA (these credits are earned through payment of Social Security taxes which are identified as “FICA,” that is, Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Payment is automatically deducted in employees’ monthly take home pay).
Disability benefits are paid to members (who have sustained total, permanent disability) through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI, which the SSA introduced in 1956, is one of the two largest programs of the U.S. Federal government (the other is the Supplemental Security Income or SSI, which was created by the SSA in 1974).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI), specifically, is designed to provide cash benefits to:
- Disabled adults with limited income and resources;
- Disabled children who are below 18 years old and who have limited income and resources; and,
- People 65 years old or older who may be without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR).
SSI benefit is also meant to help provide for its recipients’ basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter (under the SSI program, some legal aliens are also considered eligible to receive the cash benefits).
The word “disabled,” as defined for SSI purposes, means physical or mental impairment, (including emotional or learning problem) that:
- Has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months
- Results in severe functional limitations (in the case of children) or in the inability to perform any substantial gainful activity (in the case of adults); and
- Can be expected to result in the disabled person’s death.
The words “income” and “resources,” on the other hand refer to:
Income: this refers to money earned from work; money received from Social Security benefits, Workers Compensation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, unemployment benefits, friends or relatives; and free food or shelter.
Resources: things a person owns, such as: cash; bank accounts, U.S. savings bonds; land; vehicles; personal property; life insurance; stocks, and whatever can be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.
As explained in the website of the Chris Mayo Law Firm, “Dealing with a serious disability can make everyday life a challenge, and for many of those in this position, earning a living wage can be extremely difficult. For this reason, the Social Security Administration provides income support through various programs to Americans with disabilities who struggle to make ends meet. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is one such program that has played a substantial role in helping disabled children, adults, and their families across the country.
SSI benefits are available to those living on low incomes, who are aged, blind, or suffer from a disability, with sometimes increased benefits for families to help provide a level of support that more accurately matches their needs.”Read More