Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) provide monthly disability checks to many disabled Americans and their families. SSDI was instituted in 1956 as an additional benefit for workers insured through Social Security. SSI was created in 1969 as a needs-based disability program to supplement SSDI since SSDI did not provide support for disabled workers under age 50 or for the dependents of disabled workers.
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Applying For Disability Benefits
You can apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. You can take care of much of the process online (see Resource), but you may have to call or visit the SSA office.
Disability Benefit Approval Process
The disability benefit approval process involves several steps. The first step is an income test. As of 2010, if you are earning over £650 a month you do not qualify for disability benefits. Also, your disability must be so severe that it interferes with basic work-related functions and prevents you from working. You must also prove that you are not able to do any other type of work.
Timetable from Disability Application to Receiving First Check
By law, disability payments begin six months after the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves your disability. For example, if you were disabled on July 20, 2010, you would receive your first disability benefit check for the month of January 2010 in early February 2010.
The monthly disability benefit amount varies, especially for SSI recipients, since the amount is based on their income that month. As of 2010 the maximum monthly SSI benefit is £438 for individuals and £657 for couples.
Duration of Disability Payments
In most cases you will receive disability benefits for as long as you remain disabled, and SSI benefits as long as you meet the means-tests. There is no specific limitation on the total benefit amount an individual may draw over a lifetime. The amount you receive may vary if your income changes or the disability benefit calculation formulas change.
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