Is monthly SSDI enough to make ends meet? To start, it’s important to know what SSDI is and how it differs from a similar program called SSI.
Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) differ in some fairly important ways. According to the official site, SSDI “pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes”.
Adult children may also qualify for benefits on your earnings record if the child has a disability starring before age 22. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program “pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources”.
Who Gets SSDI
SSDI is offered to applicants who have been in the workforce and have earned enough “work credits” to qualify. SSI is offered to those who are considered low-income but have not been in the workforce long enough to earn credit for SSDI or they have never worked at all.
Both of these options are administered by the Social Security Administration, both have medical requirements, and there is a disability determination process. Claims are often processed by local Social Security offices and state agencies. In most cases, the medical requirements are identical for both programs.
Who needs these benefits? More than you might think. According to the Social Security official site, “Studies show that just over one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67”.
Is Monthly SSDI Enough?
Is monthly SSDI enough to make ends meet? It all depends on a variety of variables including whether or not you are receiving other benefits. The amount of your benefit may be reduced if you receive certain government-issued disability pay in the form of things like worker’s compensation or state disability benefits that are temporary in nature. Those who draw VA disability pay for service-connected disabilities are not at risk for having SSDI reduced because of the VA payments.
A quick scan of certain websites like AARP.org reveals that many can’t survive on SSDI alone, or have to cut corners to do so. Many report needing to rely on friends and relatives, as well as locally-offered assistance from charitable groups, ride-sharing programs, etc.
How much you actually get from either program may vary too much to try to break down the numbers here–your qualifications for one program or the other will determine much going forward. But it’s a good thing to ask about what other types of assistance you may need to apply for in addition to SSDI–help that doesn’t penalize you financially, and whether other financial assistance may result in a reduction in SSDI.
Qualifying for disability requires the help of your primary care provider, and it’s not guaranteed that an applicant will make it through the medical screening process with an evaluation that says they are approved for SSDI or SSI payments. You can use an official form–an adult Disability Checklist to help prepare for such an application. That checklist includes advice for gathering your required documentation including a 15-year work history.
Joe Wallace is a writer and editor from Illinois. He was an editor and producer for Air Force Television News for 13 years, and has served as Managing Editor for publications including Gearwire.com, and Associate Editor for FHANewsBlog.com. He is also an experienced book and script editor specializing in non-fiction and documentary filmmaking.