What benefits can I get on disability?
The Federal Government offers two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The benefits including monthly cash assistance and medical benefits vary based on which program you receive.
Benefits offered for SSDI
Claimants may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits if they have worked and earned enough credits to become insured for SSDI, they have a condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months, and they are not working or earning too much money.
If you qualify for SSDI benefits you will be paid a monthly cash payment, which is considered a wage replacement for lost income. Benefits vary by claimant. The SSA uses a complicated formula to calculate benefits for each disabled worker. The average SSDI monthly payment is generally around $1,100, but it can be more or less depending on your average salary and how much you have contributed in employment taxes.
Contact the SSA for specific information about your disability payments or visit their website at www.ssa.gov for more information.
Can my dependents receive SSDI benefits?
Under some conditions certain family members will qualify for what is called auxiliary benefits under SSDI. For instance, if you are married and your spouse receives SSDI you may also qualify for auxiliary benefits if you are 62 years or older or you are carrying for a child who is under 16 years old and is eligible for SSDI dependents' benefits. Children may also receive auxiliary benefits if they are under the age of 18 and they are not married.
Payments for SSI benefits
Supplemental Security Income payments (SSI) are not based on money paid into the SSA system by the worker. Instead, the SSA calculates the SSI payment based the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). According to the SSA, "The Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) is the maximum dollar amount paid to an aged, blind, or disabled person who receives SSI. Also called the Federal Payment Standard or the SSI Standard Benefit Amount, the Federal Benefit Rate is linked to the consumer price index."
If you receive SSI benefits the maximum you will receive for SSI will be the amount calculated as the Federal Benefit Rate for that year. For instance, the monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2015 are $733 for an eligible individual, $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $367 for an essential person.
Will everyone get the same SSI payments?
Although the FBR is the same in every state, some states also add a state supplemental payment onto the federal payment. In these states SSI recipients may receive more than other SSI recipients in other states.
Will I get insurance if I receive SSDI or SSI?
If you receive SSDI benefits you will receive Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period. The first 24 months of disability benefit entitlement is the waiting period for Medicare coverage.
If you receive SSI benefits (in most states) you will receive Medicaid coverage. Some states may require SSI claimants to apply for Medicaid separately; other states will give Medicaid coverage automatically when the claimant is approved for SSI benefits.
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A disability lawyer is only paid if they win your case. If they win they are paid a specific amount of your back pay up to a predetermined limit. Hiring a lawyer will generally improve your chances of winning benefits at every stage of the disability process.