Social Security (SSA) was developed to provide protection for retired workers and their families who suffer loss of income due to age, disability or death. There are several types of Social Security benefits available including: Survivor benefits paid to the spouse and minor children of deceased workers; disability benefits paid to persons who are no longer able to work due to their disability; retirement benefits paid to aged workers.
You are entitled to Social Security benefits one of three ways:
1. If you retire.
2. If you are a minor child of a worker who becomes disabled or dies, or the surviving parent of a minor child under the age of 16.
3. If you become disabled.
Full retirement benefits currently begins at age 65, though reduced retirement benefits can be drawn beginning at age 62. Social Security retirement benefits are available to anyone who has worked long enough to meet the eligibility rules.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes) . It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income. SSI benefits are not based on your prior work or a family member's prior work.
To get SSI, you must have limited income and resources. To be eligible for SSI, you must be found disabled under the same rules used for Social Security Disability, or be blind, or over age 65. You must also have very little household income or property to be financially eligible for SSI. Even if you are found to be disabled under Social Security's regulations, if your household income exceeds a certain maximum level, you will not qualify for SSI benefits. For a disabled person with little or no past work experience whose spouse is able to care for the family financially, this is a harsh reminder that SSI benefits were created to afford minimal economic relief to disabled persons who would not otherwise receive the necessary financial support they need. Disability benefits are either paid from FICA Taxes (DIB) or from General Funds (SSI).
Disability benefits are benefits received from the Social Security Administration by disabled workers and in some cases, their dependant children. Social Security Disability benefits are available regardless of your age if you have enough work quarters and are found to be disabled under the Social Security Administration guidelines. In addition, if you are disabled, your children members may qualify for benefits as your dependants. Children under 18 and some disabled adult children may be eligible if one of their parents receives disability benefits or is deceased.
To receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a physical or mental impairment (or combination of impairments) that have prevented you working for a period of at least one year or are likely to prevent you from working for at least a year. You can file a claim before you have been disabled for one year, but you must prove that your disability will last for at least one year.
When determining whether you qualify for disability benefits, Social Security relies on its own set of regulations in deciding whether or not you are disabled. Even if your doctor has told you that you are disabled and unable to work, Social Security may find that under their regulations you are not under a disability and therefore do not qualify for benefits.
You must also have medical evidence of some mental or physical impairment, or a combination of impairments which keep you from working, in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration relies on objective medical evidence when determining whether you qualify for benefits. For this reason, it is important to continue treatment with your doctor(s) during the entire application process.
Survivor benefits can be paid to the deceased spouse's widow or widower as full benefits at the retirement age or older or reduced benefits as early as age 60. A Widow or widower may sometimes claim benefits at any age if she or he takes care of a child who is under 16. Unmarried children under 18 can also receive survivor benefits. Under certain circumstances, benefits also can be paid to the deceased worker's stepchildren, grandchildren, or adopted children. If you've been divorced, your former wife or husband can get benefits under the same circumstances as your widow or widower if your marriage lasted 10 years or more. Your former spouse, however, does not have to meet the length-of-marriage rule if she or he is caring for your child who is under 16 or disabled and who is also receiving benefits on your Social Security record. The child must be your former spouse's natural or legally adopted child.
Child's Disability Benefits (CDB) are a type of SSI program. It provides financial support to children age 17 or younger who are disabled. Social Security uses different rules for determining disability in a child's claim than in an adult claim. To be found disabled, the child must have a physical or mental condition which causes marked or severe functional limitations. As with SSI claims, to be eligible for Child's Disability Benefits the parents' household income must not exceed a certain maximum level.
Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits (DWB) is a special disability program for certain widows and widowers, based on the Social Security tax paid by his or her deceased spouse. To qualify for Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits, you must be between the ages of 50 and 60, and have been married for at least 10 years to the person who was covered under Social Security at the time of his or her death, and show that you are under a disability. You must prove that your disability began within seven years of your spouse's death.
Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC) generally may be paid to a child age 18 or older who became disabled before age 22, and to a full-time elementary or secondary school student under age 19. If the parent is alive, he or she must be entitled to retirement or disability benefits. If deceased, the parent must have worked long enough under Social Security for survivor's benefits to be paid on the record.
A disabled child age 18 or older may be entitled to Social Security benefits based on his or her parent's account when a parent has worked long enough under the program and is entitled to disability benefits or is deceased. The criteria used to evaluate the disability are the same as those used to evaluate disability in adults. The child must be unable to work because of a medical condition that has lasted or is expected either to last at least 12 months or to result in death. The child's disability must have begun before age 22.