Every potential source of assistance may be quite helpful during trying times. Most people often picture assistance as charitable donations and support provided through nonprofits. When searching for financial aid, people should be aware of additional resources and assistance options. This includes the government assistance programs that have long helped countless Americans. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a wonderful source of federal aid, offering two excellent programs to assist people in need:
These two programs can occasionally be confused, and some individuals may not even be aware they exist. If you want to know whether you can take advantage of these options, keep reading!
SSA Financial Assistance Options for People in Need
Dealing with a disability can have an impact on a person’s capacity to find employment and earn a decent living. Fortunately, the government is aware of the challenging circumstances that many people with disabilities might face on a daily basis. It is also mindful of the financial difficulties older citizens on low incomes usually experience. As a result, the government offers financial assistance to those in need through the SSI and SSDI programs, which are managed by SSA. Keeping this in mind, it’s critical to understand that each program has its own set of criteria, advantages, etc. We will go over the following topics to better explain the specifics of each option:
- How Does the SSDI Provide Assistance?
- What Should You Know About SSI?
- How to Get SSDI and SSI Benefits
How Does the SSDI Provide Assistance?
SSDI is intended to assist those with qualifying disabilities who have worked in the past and have been enrolled in the Social Security system. The program is supported by payroll taxes that offer financial support to its participants. One of the major perks of this program is that after two years of receiving SSDI benefits, a beneficiary can begin getting Medicare, which is health insurance.
How Much Should You Expect to Receive from SSDI?
In general, SSDI issues different amounts of monthly payments to recipients. That’s because the program bases how much money an applicant may get on their average lifetime earnings and the SSA’s benefit calculation. However, in 2024, an average monthly payment will be around $1,537. If you are qualified for this much money and are unaware of it, it might be quite a waste! Your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) and primary insurance amount (PIA), which are taken into account in the SSA’s calculations, determine the precise amount you will receive.
Additionally, if you meet the requirements for the year’s maximum benefit, you will receive $3,822 each month. Keep in mind that these figures could change for a variety of reasons. A recipient’s status may change, or there may be yearly cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). As a result, it’s critical that you keep the SSA updated on any changes. Every year, you should also check the SSA website to see whether there have been any updates.
It’s important to remember that not all disabled people qualify for SSDI. Instead, it considers a few factors to determine eligibility. The severity of the handicap and employment history are two examples of these factors.
What Should You Know About SSI?
In addition to people with disabilities, the elderly (over 65 years old) and those dealing with blindness may qualify for SSI if they meet the other criteria. This is crucial to remember since SSI is a need-based program, which means it considers applicants’ earnings and resources. When it comes to funding, this program relies on general tax revenues. The program has more to offer than monthly payments. In most cases, SSI recipients are automatically eligible for Medicaid.
How Much Should You Expect to Receive from SSI?
To calculate SSI benefits, two variables are taken into account: the federal benefit rate (FBR) and the recipient’s countable income. Examples of countable income include the following:
- Earned income (paychecks, earnings from self-employment)
- Unearned income (pension, Social Security payments, and unemployment benefits)
- In-kind assistance, such as donations.
Basically, the program subtracts your countable income from the FBR to calculate the exact amount of money you will receive. The FBR is the maximum monthly payment that a person may get, to put it simply. It is important to remember that the FBR may change annually, particularly with inflation and yearly changes. However, the FBR in 2024 was:
- $1,415 for couples
- $943 for individuals
How to Get SSDI and SSI Benefits
Since the target population and eligibility requirements for the two programs are different, it’s reasonable to suppose that their application processes will also differ. However, you will need to provide proof of your circumstances (medical or financial) in both processes. If you believe you are qualified for any of these options, you should apply as soon as possible. Both applications cost nothing!
How to Apply for SSDI
You often need to provide proof of your eligibility for benefits in order to get SSDI payments. Therefore, you’ll have to provide documentation outlining your situation. You will probably need to gather the following information and documentation:
- Birth certificate
- Medical records
- A detailed description of your disability
- Work history
- Social Security number
Having these papers ready before applying is a good rule of thumb. This can save you some hassle and speed up the process. You have a few options on how to submit an application, which is the next step. This includes submitting an application online, calling 1-800-772-1213, or visiting the Social Security office in your area. Since the first option takes no time or effort, it is probably the best one. You only need to visit the SSA website and follow the instructions in order to submit an online application.
Following application submission, you should anticipate receiving a written decision. Normally, this procedure takes three to five months. Although we hope that you will be accepted, you will have 60 days to appeal the decision if it is made against you.
How to Apply for SSI
The information you must submit for the SSI application is slightly different from that for the SSDI. This is because SSI takes a variety of things into account. Generally speaking, you should be prepared to provide the program with certain personal details (like name and birthdate) and contact details (like phone number and email). There may be more information needed about your circumstances because eligibility is based on your financial condition and your disability status (if you have one).
You should be aware that government assistance is available if you are having financial difficulties. Financial issues may be more concerning if you have a disability or are over the age of 65. This is why you should search for assistance that is appropriate for your situation. Fortunately, the SSA’s SSDI and SSI programs, which aim to provide those in need with monthly payments, are two excellent options. Typically, different factors will affect how much a recipient receives. However, it’s totally free to apply for both programs. People who want to learn more about these opportunities can find a ton of guidance and information on the SSA website.