What is social security disability?
There are really two kinds of social security disability benefits. There is Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSD is disability payments based on what you have paid in to the social security fund over your lifetime, typically from money taken out of wages you have earned. The SSD benefit can range anywhere from as little as $10.00 to as much as $2,000.00 per month. When your benefit reaches a certain point per month, approximately around $600.00, benefits can also be paid to your spouse and/or children. In order to qualify for SSD, you must have worked a certain number of quarters before becoming disabled. You must have worked at least 20 of the past 40 quarters before becoming disabled. A quarter runs from January through March, April through June, July through September, and then October through December. You must earn a minimum amount of money per quarter to count the particular quarter. The 20 quarters do not have to be consecutive (in a row).
There is also a little quirk regarding SSD. Once you stop working, you are not eligible for SSD forever. Rather, you remain eligible for SSD for a specific time after you stop working. Generally speaking, if you have worked consistently for five years, you will remain eligible for SSD for another five years. It becomes complicated when you have worked inconsistently or have waited a long time before applying for social security (SSD) after you have stopped working.
SSI is a different program. SSI is not from the fund that you have paid into. Rather, it pays benefits for people who either have never worked, have worked but have not earned enough quarters, or are getting paid SSD, but the SSD benefit is rather low. Generally speaking, an SSD benefit below $643.00 allows you to also get SSI. SSI pays the maximum amount per month. For example, in 2007, the maximum amount payable per month is $623.00. SSI is affected by other income of yours, your spouse=s income, and any other resources you may have. The rules are complicated and too difficult to explain here, but can be explained more fully when you contact attorney Stephan Freeman at our office.
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