Many people look at being a hard worker as a favorable trait amongst the people we know and care about. Working hard to provide for yourself and/or your family may even bring you great fulfillment! However, there are times in life when you’re faced with circumstances that are out of your control. If your disability has become so severe that you aren’t able to go to work anymore, you may feel helpless. However, there may be financial support that you can get! Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides monthly benefits to qualifying individuals. This opportunity can provide you financial relief when you need it most.
Understanding How to Supplement Monthly Income with SSDI
Being out of work can put people and their families in a tough financial situation that’s difficult to overcome. Many individuals may be out of work to no fault of their own due to their disability becoming too severe. If that sounds like something you’re experiencing, then Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may be able to help supplement your income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides monthly funds to qualifying individuals. These funds can help support you and your family when you’re physically unable to go make money on your own.
In order to qualify for benefits, you need to be considered “insured” according to the SSAs standards. First, you need to have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Additionally, you need to have earned enough work credits over that time. Finally, you must be suffering from a disability that prevents you from being able to maintain your job.
SSDI Recipients Receive up to $3,822 Per Month
Recipients of SSDI are awarded benefits based on their work history. For that reason, it’s difficult to know how much you can receive. The only true way to know is to apply and be approved for benefits. However, we can provide data that may give you a good idea of what’s possible. In 2024, the maximum amount of disability funds possible per month is up to $3,822. Meanwhile, the average SSDI recipient gets $1,537.
How to Apply for SSDI Benefits
The application process for SSDI does not have the best reputation. It can be time consuming and complicated. You need to get together plenty of documentation, fill out forms, and complete interviews with your SSA office. There is also a waiting period of at least five months even after you’ve submitted your application. Even then, there is no guarantee that your first application attempt is successful. Unfortunately, that can steer many people away from getting the help they need! However, if you’re unable to work, you need a back up plan to support yourself and your family. SSDI can provide that.
The application may seem intimidating, but below is a simplified description of just five steps needed to complete the process! You can also choose to complete an application for SSDI online, in-person at the SSA office, or over the phone. This way you can select the option that feels easiest to you! The application process may look something like this:
- First, you need to gather all required documentation needed for the application. This includes medical records, personal information, and more. Check out the Adult Disability Checklist on the SSA website to learn more about this step.
- Fill out the application carefully and accurately. Take your time with this step, ensuring you go back over everything to review before submitting.
- Once your application is submitted, the SSA needs time to check it over to determine if you meet the criteria for benefits.
- The SSA doesn’t get final say on who gets benefits. Instead, your Disability Determination Services state office is in charge of that. If the SSA finds that you meet the criteria, they can pass along your application to them to do a final review.
- Finally, the Disability Determination Services office will make a decision on your application.
How to Know if Your Disability is Eligible for SSDI?
If you have to stop working due to your disability, you may be eligible for benefits with SSDI. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a strict definition of disability to determine who can qualify for support. Typically disabilities that meet the following requirements can qualify:
- Has lasted at least one year or is likely to continue for one year or more.
- Expected to result in death
- Prevents you from doing any substantial gainful activity (SGA).
- Prevents you from working
The SSA also has a list of specific health conditions that can qualify you for support with SSDI. A list of examples include but is not limited to the following:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Cancer (various forms)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Different Federal Support Programs that Can Help
There are various forms of federal assistance that you may be able to benefit from if you’ve lost your regular income. Some of the biggest expenses that households have to deal with is housing and food. These types of expenses can force a person to quickly run through their emergency savings! There are two government programs that may be able to provide you some relief with your rent or food bills.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program, also called Section 8, provides monthly rent assistance to qualifying low-income households. The assistance comes in the form of a voucher that is credited towards the recipient’s rent. With this program, voucher holders are responsible for finding their own rental property to live in on the private market. Unfortunately, the amount of rental properties that allow Section 8 is limited. First, the property needs to pass an inspection done by their local Public Housing Authority (PHA). In addition to that, not every landlord is willing to accept vouchers as payment.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps low-income households cover some of their cost of groceries. Qualifying households get their own Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that allows them to manage and spend their funds. Unfortunately, not every store accepts EBT. Recipients need to be mindful of that when deciding where to shop. In addition to that, SNAP benefits can only be used to buy eligible food items. The amount of support a household can get depends on factors such as their current financial situation and family status.
Final Take Away
In the end, SSDI provides a lifeline to disabled individuals that lessen the financial burden of being out of work. Actually, the average recipient of SSDI is able to receive $1,358 each month! The funds that are awarded to qualifying individuals can be used for a variety of basic necessities. It’s delivered as cash assistance, therefore, recipients have the freedom to choose how to spend it. In order to qualify for SSDI, individuals must have an eligible work history. In addition to that, the SSA has very specific criteria for what types of disabilities are recognized.
Despite SSDI delivering necessary financial support to people in need, it doesn’t come without a few challenges. For example, the application process can be lengthy and confusing. In fact, there is a five month waiting period that applicant’s must go through before receiving an answer. This waiting period gives the SSA time to examine your medical records and job history to determine if you qualify for benefits. However, if you’re willing to take action for your future, the process could be completely worth it! If you’re out of work and struggling with your finances, you could also benefit from additional support. The federal government offers various programs that can help extend your budget for essentials like housing and food.