Approximately 70 million individuals can get help thanks to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Despite the fact that many individuals do not begin thinking about Social Security benefits until they reach a certain age, it is essential to have a clear understanding as soon as you can. This is because each support option they offer can assist an individual managing a specific situation.
Social Security Administration (SSA) Programs
Many programs are similar, which can make it a challenge to understand these options. This is why this article will discuss in detail about three common programs that the SSA provides. The three common programs are:
- Social Security Retirement Benefits
- Social Security Disability Insurance
- Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Retirement Benefits
There are many individuals that know about Social Security retirement benefits. These benefits will substitute a portion of a person’s pre-retirement income. The substitute amount is based on a person’s biggest earnings of 35 years. Additionally, the specific benefit amount that an individual can get will depend on various factors. One of those biggest factors is age. This is because a person can only start receiving these benefits once they turn 62 years old.
To gain from this assistance option, an individual will need to be employed and pay Social Security taxes. Once an individual does this, they can earn “credits.” These credits will go towards the benefit amount that an individual can receive. The specific number of credits that an individual will need to be eligible for this support option is based on the year that they were born. For instance, any person that is born after 1929 will require a minimum of 40 credits. Typically, this translates to approximately ten years of employment.
If you stop working before you get enough credits, then you are still fortunate. That is because the credits that you make will stay on your Social Security record. If you decide to go back to work later on, then you have the opportunity to get more credits added. If you want to gain from this assistance option, then you will be required to achieve a minimum of 40 credits, in the case that you were born after 1929.
How Much Can I Receive?
The amount you will receive is based on several different factors, but the maximum benefit amount for 2024 is $4,873. There are different ways a person can make the most of their benefit amount. Some methods includes:
- Retire when you are 70
- Make the highest taxable income
- Have at least 35 years of qualifying work history
The Application Process
You have the option to apply online, on the phone, or in person. You can assume there is information you will need to present. This would include personal details such as your:
- Kids’ names
- Financial information
- Employment information
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Social Security number
Another support option for individuals is the SSDI program. This is a support option that can provide assistance to insured people that have qualifying employment history and eligible disabilities. Qualifying household members might also be able to get benefits from this support option. Qualifying household members include:
- Divorced Partners
- Kids with Disabilities That Are At Most The Age of 22
How to Qualify for the SSDI Program?
If you are interested in receiving benefits from the SSDI program, there are some eligibility requirements you need to meet. This is because this support option is created for people that have an eligible disability which makes it challenging for them to keep working. In this case, an individual would essentially need to go into early retirement because of their disability. That is why employment history also plays an important factor in eligibility. The two main eligibility requirements are if an individual:
- Has been employed in a job that Social Security covers
- Has a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability.
If an individual starts getting benefits from SSDI, then they will do so until they reach the full retirement age (FRA). At that point, their SSDI benefits will convert to the standard Social Security retirement benefits that we discussed in the section above.
How Much Can I Receive from the SSDI Program?
The maximum SSDI benefit is $3,822 for 2024, but it is difficult for individuals to receive that maximum amount. This is why the average SSDI payment is $1,537 for 2024. It is a common misunderstanding that the amount that an individual will receive is based on how severe their disability is. Instead, the number of benefits will be based on a calculation that uses an individual’s covered wages over a certain period of time. This amount is better known as your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME).
Applying for the SSDI Program
It is important to keep in mind that the specific application process depends on the state. However, the application will typically look like the following, regardless of how you apply:
- You will be required to gather information about yourself and relevant documents to apply. To figure it out, you should look through the Adult Disability Checklist.
- Once you gather your documents, you will need to complete your application.
- After your application is complete, you will need to submit it.
- Once you present your application, the SSA will look through it to make sure you meet the minimum requirements for disability benefits. Also, they will take into consideration your employment history and any current employment activities.
- Afterward, the SSA will process your application and forward your case file to the Disability Determination Services office for your state.
- Once your state’s Disability Determination office gets this case file, they will reach a decision about your application.
The last support option that the SSA offers is the SSI program. People that can benefit from this program need to be at the age of 65 and be financially needy. However, a person can be younger than 65, in the case that they have an eligible disability and need financial assistance. Despite that this is another assistance option that might be able to help people with a disability, it is important to keep in mind that it is a completely different option than SSDI. This option does have similar components to the SSDI. That is because the medical requirements are the same for both programs. As a matter of fact, an individual might receive SSI and SSDI at the same time!
How Much Can I Get Out of The SSI Program?
This support option has a reduced maximum benefit amount than the other opportunities on this list. For 2024, the maximum amount that an individual can receive from this option is:
- $943 per month for a qualifying person
- $472 per month for a qualifying essential individual
- $1,415 per month for a qualifying couple
The SSI Application Process
If you have a disability and are applying for the SSI, then you will find that the application resembles the SSDI, but it is based on your current situation. For instance, if you are applying for SSI and you do not have a disability, then you will not need to worry about offering that kind of information or meeting disability eligibility. It is essential to look through the basic requirements that come with SSI eligibility to make sure you can benefit.
The Final Verdict
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has various programs that can assist people who need it. Each option has its own set of eligibility requirements and benefits. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that it can vary from one state to another. The best way to receive detailed and up-to-date information is by contacting your local Social Security office. They can offer you information that can help you understand the available assistance options.