You’ve probably heard about the SSA before, right? Well, we’re here to give you in-depth information on the different benefits you can get from them. That’s right: there is more than one kind of benefit from the SSA. It’s not only your standard retirement benefits. You can also get benefits from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, too! This article will tell you more about these benefits, instead of doing the research yourself!
Who Is The Social Security Administration (SSA)?
Before you rush yourself, you should probably know more about the SSA, since they are responsible for the three programs we mentioned above. The SSA is a federal agency that offers financial protection for people all over the United States and it helps millions. For more than 80 years, this agency has focused its efforts on helping those that qualify to receive support during their lifetime. The SSA offers three main programs: the retirement benefits program, the SSI program, and the SSDI program.
Since some of the benefits revolve around disabilities, the SSA set up an evaluation process to find out whether or not an applicant’s disability qualifies them to get support (when applicable). The SSA considers the employment status of the application and the severity level of the disability condition. Another factor they focus on is whether the applicant’s disability can be found on the SSA’s list of medical conditions. This list is basically a group of qualifying disabilities that the SSA defines, including:
- Chronic Liver Disease
Other factors that define an applicant’s disability are whether they can continue working their current employment and other activities because of their disability or not.
Now, let’s start with the SSI program, which helps people over the age of 65 who need financial support. In 2024, the maximum benefit amount that an individual can get is $943, while an eligible couple can get $1,415. An essential individual that qualifies can get $472. This program also helps people who are younger than age 65, but they need to have a qualifying disability. Furthermore, they need to show that they need financial support! It is important for you to understand whether you meet the requirements for SSI benefits since not all of the requirements will apply to you. For example, if you don’t have a disability and you apply for SSI benefits, then you don’t need to worry about meeting disability requirements.
Social Security Retirement Benefits
This program helps out those that were employed and paid taxes for Social Security, which translated to “credits.” These requirements help the SSA evaluate the benefits you can receive. You should know that you will not lose your “credits” if you stop working since these credits stay on your Social Security record. To be clear, retirement benefits are benefits that substitute a portion of a person’s pre-retirement income during the largest 35 years of work.For 2023, you can receive a maximum amount of up to $4,194. If you want to apply, then you can do so in the following ways:
- On the phone
- Face-to-face appointments
So, what can you expect from the retirement application process? You will need to offer financial information and details about your employment background. Also, basic information about your life is necessary, like your name and the name of your kids, along with when and where you were born.
Earnings are Important
There are extra regulations when it comes to certain kinds of employment or types of earnings. These kinds of jobs would include military service, working for the government (local, state, and federal), self-employment, household work, and more! The calculation for Social Security earnings is typically the same for most employees in the United States, however.
The final SSA program on this list is the SSDI program that helps individuals with an eligible disability that are unable to work. Another term for this would be “insured” individuals, who go into early retirement because of their condition. For 2024, the maximum benefit amount of SSDI is $3,822 and the average amount is $1,537. A person would get SSDI benefits until they are at the full retirement age (FRA), which would then turn into retirement benefits after reaching the FRA.
Similar to the other programs on this list, you will need to meet basic requirements to get SSDI benefits. There are two main requirements, which are disability and employment background requirements. Furthermore, your earnings during a specific time frame, or the average indexed monthly earnings (AIME), is how the program calculates your benefit amount.
How To Apply for SSDI Benefits
Did you know that you can actually get both SSI and SSDI benefits together? That’s right. Since they have the same disability requirements, you can get benefits from both programs at the same time! Regardless, you will need to apply. You can apply for SSDI benefits through one of the following ways:
- In-person appointments
- On the phone
However you apply, the application process is more or less the same. You will need to gather important information and documents about yourself. If you need help keeping track of the information and documents, then the Adult Disability Checklist is a great reference. When you submit your application after finishing it, the SSA looks through it and evaluates whether you meet the basic disability criteria. However, the SSA does not make the final decision on your application. The SSA actually sends your case to your state’s Disability Determination Service office and they decide whether you get benefits or not.
Now that you have all the information you need, you can apply! At least, you have the information to get you started. However, you can always contact the Social Security office in your locality. You should remember that each program is different, even if they seem similar. Furthermore, each state operates each program differently. So, you might find that your cousin in Florida applies for benefits differently than you do in Washington!