A lot of people may wonder why we pay our Social Security taxes regularly. The fact is that almost 70 million Americans can benefit from assistance provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA has 3 programs that aim to financially support Americans. Each of these programs can help an individual in a different way. That is why it is important to make sure to understand the difference clearly!
Three common support programs that the SSA provides includes:
Social Security Retirement Benefits
When people think of the SSA, they will likely think about retirement benefits. The benefits that people will receive are designed to replace a portion of a person’s pre-retirement income. However, it only replaces a person’s highest 35 years of income. If you want to benefit from this support opportunity you will need to have a qualifying work history and pay Social Security taxes. As you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn credits. These credits will go towards determining whether or not you qualify for these benefits. If you were born any year after 1929 then you need at least 40 work credits. 40 work credits is generally around 10 years of a qualifying work history. The maximum retirement benefit in 2024 is $4,873 a month. Individuals can maximize this benefit by retiring at 70 years old, making the highest taxable income possible, and making sure to have a full 35 years of an eligible work history.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSA created SSDI to support Americans who can no longer maintain a livable wage due to a disability. Beneficiaries of SSDI must’ve worked for a certain qualifying period before applying for SSDI benefits. They must also provide documents proving their ailments. These ailments must fall within the list of disabilities eligible for SSDI.
The way SSA calculates a person’s disability benefits is by factoring in both their age and work history. As of 2024, the average benefits that applicants receive from SSDI are $1,537 per month. However, the maximum benefits that a person may be able to get can reach up to $3,822 for 2024.
The government created this program to help qualifying individuals through additional financial assistance. Individuals must be low income in order to qualify for this support opportunity. Additional eligibility requirements include:
- Having an eligible work history
- Having an eligible disability (which means they will not need to meet age requirements)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Many people confuse the SSDI and SSI program since their acronyms are similar and they both can help people with disabilities. However, SSI looks to help people that are low income regardless of whether they meet age requirements or disability requirements. It’s important to keep in mind that these programs are different. In fact, some individuals may even be able to qualify for both support options at once! The maximum amount of benefits that this program can provide is significantly lower than the other opportunities we mention. The maximum SSI benefit for 2024 is:
- $943 a month for an eligible individual
- $472 a month for an eligible essential person
- $1,415 a month for an eligible couple
When most people think of the Social Security Administration (SSA), they don’t realize just how many support opportunities are available. In fact, there are three popular options that can help a variety of different individuals. The three programs are:
- Social Security Retirement Benefits: Which helps individuals who retire
- Social Security Disability Insurance: Which individuals with a disability before the retirement age
- Supplemental Security Income: Which helps individuals that are low income who are either old enough or have a qualifying disability
For more information or to apply, you will want to get in touch with your local Social Security office.