The majority of workers in the USA contribute to the Social Security program from the Federal Government. While this is most commonly associated with pension benefits, it is also used for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), presuming that a person meets the eligibility requirements. The amount of benefit received through the Social Security scheme is determined by your personal pay and work history. You should contact the Social Security Administration if you believe you are eligible in order to determine the actual level of benefit you will receive.
In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability insurance, you must be unable to work in any gainful employment. You must also be able to show evidence that this will remain the case for twelve months or that the disability or illness will lead to your death. This eligibility, along with the average entitlements of the insurance, lead to several problems that mean SSDI should not be relied upon to provide your sole means of income.
Only those that are deemed unable to conduct any job are eligible for SSDI. Regardless of your previous position and earning, if you are able to work in any industry performing any task then you are ineligible to receive social security insurance. This means that even if you were able to take a job that meant a complete change in career and significant drop in pay, you would be ineligible to receive SSDI payment.
You must be able to prove that your disability is expected to last for at least twelve months or that it will lead to your death to be eligible. As such, ongoing treatments and tests for an unknown illness may prevent you from being eligible for payments.
As well as having to provide evidence that a disability will last for at least twelve months, the filing of paperwork and the general application process can take considerable time. As such, it can take several months before eligibility is assessed and granted. Only then will you start to receive social security insurance payments.
The combined total of state, government, federal, and military grants cannot usually be greater than 80% of your previous earnings. As such, if you receive any other disability entitlements then you may find that the total of Social Security Disability Insurance you are entitled to will drop significantly.
If your combined income is greater than a certain limit then you may be liable to pay income tax against the money awarded for SSDI. This can further reduce the payments you receive. Combined income is calculated as being your gross income, half of your Social Security benefits, plus non-taxable income.
Average SSDI payments are equivalent to little more than $10,000 per annum. Even previously high earners receive only a marginally higher payment than this. $10,000 per annum is not enough for an average person to live on and further research reveals that a large portion of families relying on SSDI payments as their sole form of financial income would fall under the Federal Poverty Level. Without somehow supplementing SSDI payments, most people would struggle to adapt to the financial changes at a time when they should be concentrating on their health rather than financial struggles.
SSDI should be treated as a last resort for a number of reasons. Eligibility requirements are stringent, to say the least, and even those that are eligible find that several months can pass from first needing their insurance to actually receiving a payment. When those payments do come, they are likely to be considerably less than a person can survive on, thus leaving families that rely solely on social security insurance struggling financially.