When people think of Social Security, many people think of retirement. However, what many people might not know is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) hosts a few different programs. Each program has a goal to serve a different group of people, not just elderly people.
How Thousands in Support is Available
Around 70 million people across the U.S. receive Social Security assistance. With that said, three well-known programs of the SSA include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Social Security Retirement Benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
This form of assistance benefits individuals who can no longer work due to a disability. The SSA asks a series of questions when determining if an applicant’s disability is eligible:
- Is their medical condition one that is recognized by the SSA?
- Is their condition considered severe?
- Are they currently working?
- Are they able to do any type of work?
- Does their condition prevent them from being able to work as they did previously?
How Much Assistance Does SSDI Provide?
You are probably wondering how the program determines how much a person can get. SSDI takes into account previous earnings. The program takes their average earnings over a certain time period and calculates benefits using that number. This is referred to as the average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). This means that a person’s type of disability is not considered when calculating their monthly benefits. While the amount you can get depends on your personal finances, an average SSDI recipient gets $1,537. With that in mind, for 2024, the maximum monthly payment is $3,822.
Eligibility Requirements for SSDI
There are certain requirements you must meet in order to get assistance from this program. The following is considered when determining eligibility.
- If the person has a medical condition or ailment that satisfies the SSA’s definition of disability
- The individual previously worked in a profession covered by Social Security
What to Expect with the Application Process
There are a few different ways that you can apply for SSDI benefits. You can either go online or visit a Social Security office in person. In addition to this, you can call your state’s office and speak with someone over the phone. The exact process to apply will depend on how the state you live in does things. Nonetheless, you can expect that the process to involve the following steps:
- First, you can review the Adult Disability Checklist provided by the SSA. Use this tool to help gather necessary documentation for the application.
- Second, when you have all the right documentation gathered, you can finish your application and submit it.
- Third, the SSA will make sure you meet the requirements to receive benefits. When reviewing your application, they will take into consideration your work status.
- Fourth, your case file will be handed over to your state’s Disability Determination Services office for review once it has been processed.
- Finally, once your state’s Disability Determination office will inform you of their decision.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Similar to SSDI, this assistance option is also available to people with disabilities. When it comes to individuals who are qualified due to a disability, the medical requirements are the same as SSDI. Actually, a recipient of SSDI can also be eligible to receive SSI at the same time! Additionally, elderly people who are at least 65 years (or blind) can benefit from SSI. However, it is important to know that in order to benefit from this option, you must provide proof that you’re in need financially. This is because this option is intended to help people who make either no income or a low income.
The Amount of Benefits You Can Get from SSI
When comparing this assistance option to SSDI, the amount of benefits is significantly less. However, for someone struggling to afford basic necessities, SSI could provide enough to get by. The maximum monthly amount that a recipient can receive in 2024 is $1,415. However, this number is specifically for couples. On top of that, it is important to keep in mind that qualifying recipients are not guaranteed to receive the maximum amount of assistance.
SSI Application Process
Regardless of why you’re applying to SSI, you will want to ensure you meet the basic requirements beforehand. For elderly individuals that are applying, the application process will look a little different than those applying with a disability. If you do not have a disability but are seeking support with this program, you won’t need to present paperwork verifying your condition. However, for those applying with a disability, you can expect that the application process will look similar to SSDI.
Social Security Retirement Benefits
When people think of Social Security benefits, this assistance option is usually what comes to mind. Individuals cannot begin receiving these benefits until they are 62 years old. The amount of benefits that someone can get depends on their personal situation. This is because the purpose of the program is to supplement the income a recipient was making within 35 years before they retired.
People are able to benefit from this if they were working and paying Social Security taxes during that time. The amount of taxes a person has paid over the years affects the level of benefits they are able to get. These taxes are tracked and can be referred to as tax “credits.” An individual needs to earn a certain amount of credits in order to get assistance. The number that is required depends on age. With that said, most recipients of Social Security are required to earn 40 credits. This amount of credits can be earned in roughly 10 years. The exception to this rule only applies to individuals older than 94 years old. In their case, the tax credit requirement is different.
The good news is that you don’t have to earn these credits back-to-back. If you stop working and start again, your credits will still be accounted for. This is because they stay on your Social Security record.
The Monthly Amount of Benefits You Can Get
This assistance option has the potential to provide the most amount of assistance in comparison to the other programs we’ve discussed. An individual benefiting from this Social Security option can get up to $4,873 per month in 2024.
The Application Process
To receive benefits for retirement, you will need to submit an application. You will need to provide your personal information on the application. SSA will ask you to record the following:
- Full Name
- Social Security Number
- Work Information
- Financial Information
- Name of Any Children
If you would like to submit an application, you can do it in a variety of different ways!
The SSA is commonly recognized for retirement benefits. However, we now know that there are a variety of ways to receive Social Security assistance. The SSA provides help like financial assistance to people who are no longer working due to disability and more. Which program you can benefit from depends on your personal situation. Each program has different requirements for who is eligible. If you have further questions on any of these assistance options, you will want to contact your local Social Security office.