Do my Dependents get benefits too?SSI does not grant benefits beyond that which the SSA provides to the disabled individual. However, if you qualify for SSDI benefits, certain family members may also qualify for dependents’ benefits. Spousal benefits: If you are disabled, your spouse may also be eligible to receive benefits if your spouse is at least 62 years old, or if your spouse is carrying for a child who is under 16 years old and is eligible for minor dependents’ benefits. Adult children (18 and over): your adult children can receive dependents’ benefits if the adult child is disabled and the disability occurred before the child turned 22 years old, or the child is a full-time student and is under 19 years old. Minor children: your minor children usually are eligible to receive SSDI benefits. “Children” includes biological children, adopted children, and dependent step-children. Generally, in order for a child to be eligible for SSDI benefits, they must be unmarried and under 16 years old.
What are SSI benefits?SSI benefits are considered a “needs-based” benefit because unlike SSDI, your eligibility to receive SSI benefits is not based on your work history. Rather, its based only on your financial needs. Generally, for an individual to qualify to receive SSI, requirements regarding general income must be made. The SSA will consider your income, if any, and calculate your resources such as property or cash on hand. If you meet the definition of disability and your income and assets are under the maximums set by the SSA, you will be eligible to receive SSI benefits. If you are disabled and eligible to receive SSI benefits, you will not only receive monthly benefits moving forward, you will also receive back-due benefits in a lump sum starting on the date in which you filed your application for benefits with the SSA. The amount of your SSI benefits is fixed by SSA rules and regulations.
What are SSDI benefits?SSDI benefits are considered an “entitlement” benefit. That is, you are entitled to receive SSDI benefits if you meet the definition of “disabled” and you have worked and paid Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) premiums throughout your work life. First, in order to receive SSDI you must pass the “recent work” test–i.e., you must have worked and paid FICA premiums for roughly 5 of the past 10 years. The last time you paid a FICA premium establishes your Date Last Insured (DLI). Second, your DLI must be after your alleged onset date of disability (AOD). Your AOD is the earliest date in which you think you satisfy the definition of “disability.” While the SSA has the information necessary to calculate your DLI, it will be your responsibility to produce evidence, as provided by one of your treating physicians, to persuasively establish your AOD. If you are disabled and eligible to receive SSDI benefits, you will not only receive monthly benefits moving forward, you will also receive back-due benefits in a lump sum starting on your AOD. The amount of your SSDI benefits depends on the amount of FICA premiums you’ve paid throughout your life.
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