When the unexpected happens and you can’t work, you need a plan.
Because whether you’re hurt or sick, you have the right to focus on your health and well-being. You shouldn’t have to stress about living expenses and healthcare bills.
Thankfully, if you can’t work a full-time job due to a documented illness or disability, you could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI). Though the program may seem complex, SSDI benefits can cover medical needs, provide for dependents, offer tax relief, and more.
So, in addition to monthly income, let’s go over all the SSDI benefits you’re eligible for as an SSDI recipient.
The Most Important of SSDI Benefits: The Monthly Payment
Here’s a breakdown of how much money can be expected each month (as of 2019):
- The average monthly payout is $1,234 per month.
- The maximum SSDI benefit is $2,861.
- You get 12 payments per year.
To calculate the total amount of your SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses your average lifetime earnings covered by Social Security. To get an estimate of your benefit amount, get your Social Security Statement on the government website.
10 Additional SSDI Benefits
Here’s the good news: SSDI benefits extend beyond monthly income and can improve your quality of life in a number of ways. Take a look at 10 other SSDI benefits you could receive:
1. Medicare Coverage
After two years of getting disability benefits, the SSA automatically enrolls you in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance).
2. COBRA Extension
COBRA enables former employees and their families to continue getting healthcare coverage through their employer’s plan (but they have to pay the full premium). If you qualify for SSDI benefits, you can get an 11-month disability extension of COBRA coverage.
As the SSA details, benefits can be paid to your:
- children under the age of 18
- divorced spouse
- disabled child
- adult disabled child (before age 22)
Each dependent can receive up to 50% of your disability benefit. However, the SSA limits the total amount you and your family can receive—usually between 150-180% of your disability benefit amount.
4. Tax Benefits
Though SSDI benefits can be subject to taxation, the majority of recipients don’t pay taxes on their benefits. Your household income must exceed certain levels, which typically means you must have other sources of income outside SSDI (see the IRS guidelines here).
5. Cost-of-Living Adjustment
The Social Security Administration increases SSDI benefits each year through a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This ensures the value of your payouts doen’t decrease because of inflation.
6. Preservation of Social Security Retirement Benefits
Since not working causes gaps in your employment history, you may worry your Social Security benefits will lower once you reach retirement age. This won’t happen, as the SSA implements a “disability freeze” that preserves your eligibility for Social Security benefits.
At full retirement age, your SSDI benefits convert to Social Security benefits. And for most beneficiaries, the amount doesn’t change.
7. Preservation of Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
Have an LTD plan that requires you apply for SSDI? Worried your payout amount might lower? Don’t panic. Your total payout will still equal the LTD payment.
For instance, if you get $1,500 per month from your LTD plan but only get approved for $1,000 per month in SSDI, the LTD provider will pay you the remaining $500 per month. The LTD total benefit reduction is offset by your SSDI benefit.
8. Return to Work Benefits
Through the SSA’s Ticket to Work program, you can return to work and still protect your SSDI benefits. This enables you to enter education and training and gain employment, while still receiving SSDI benefits. Eventually, you can earn your way off cash benefits, but you’ll have support as you begin your path towards self-sufficiency.
9. Survivor Benefits
Family members of a deceased individual receiving SSDI benefits may be eligible to receive survivor benefits.
10. Additional Benefits for Low-Income Beneficiaries
If you have low income or few resources, your state may cover your Medicare premiums while you receive disability benefits. You may also still qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Getting Your SSDI Benefits
Do you have a lasting illness or injury that prevents you from working? If so, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance. Even if you plan to return to work later, you can get a monthly benefit to make life easier now.
Contact The Good Law Group—and get help with your SSDI case today.