Summary of SSI / SSDI Benefits Available to Your and Your Child

You may be entitled to one or more types of benefits

“What kinds of benefits are there?” While it is necessary to be disabled to receive disability benefits, the non-medical requirements are different for each category.

The four main categories are as follows:

Disability insurance benefits

You are only eligible for these benefits if you have paid out a certain amount of Social Security taxes over a period of time, enough to have “disability insured status.” As a general rule, you must have paid at least a certain amount of Social Security taxes and at least 20 calendar quarters during the 40 calendar quarters before your disability began, i.e., you must have worked and paid Social Security tax for approximately 5 out of the preceding 10 years. For people whose disability began before age 30, he or she must have became disabled when disability insurance coverage was in force, or they are not entitled to benefits regardless of their disability. The amount you receive of disability insurance benefits is based upon your work history and earnings. However, this does not include payments that may be made to your dependent children who also get benefits in addition to your benefits.

Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI)

SSI can be paid whether or not a person has paid in enough Social Security tax to be entitled to disability insurance benefits. However, you must be disabled under the same rules as for disability insurance noted above and be under 65 years of age. You must also have a minimal amount of other income or property, since SSI benefits are based on financial need. Social Security looks at all other income and property and the household you live in, not just your own and also the value of any support, i.e., free room and board you get from others to determine eligibility. These requirements are in addition to a determination as to whether you are disabled.

Disabled adult/child benefits

In order to be eligible, you must be a child of a person receiving disability insurance benefits who died while covered under Social Security. You must be at least 19 years old, and you must prove your total disability began before you turned age 22 and is an ongoing disability. The amount paid is based on a percentage of your parents rate and is different in each particular case.

Disability – widow or widower benefits

This is a disability benefit for certain widows and widowers based upon the Social Security tax paid by their deceased spouse. To qualify, you must be between the ages 50 and 60 and be married for at least 10 years to the person who was covered under Social Security at the time of their death. You must also have proof that your disability was severe enough to meet the rules within a 7 year period from your spouse’s death with some exceptions for those already receiving certain other types of Social Security benefits.

Child disability benefits

This is a type of Social Security benefit that provides financial support to children age 17 or younger who are disabled. There is a different standard that Social Security Administration uses for determining disability in a child’s claim and an adult’s claim. To be found disabled, the child must have a physical or mental condition which causes marked and severe functional limitations. As with SSI claims, to be eligible for a children’s disability benefit, the parents’ household income must not exceed certain maximum levels.

Please remember, that for disability insurance benefits, disabled widows or widowers benefits, and disabled adult/child benefits, assets are not considered. Benefits are paid based upon being disabled and upon your Social Security earnings records. However, for Supplemental Security Income benefits and children’s benefits, in addition to being disabled, you must meet certain economic requirements.

It is essential to speak with a Social Security professional to determine if you may be entitled to any of the aforementioned benefits and which ones might be most appropriate.

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