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What Disability Benefits Will I Get?

Understanding Disability Benefits: SSDI and SSI

By Kimberly Read

Updated October 04, 2010

In considering disability benefits, an important question that always arises, and rightly so for obvious reasons, is the value of the benefits that will be provided if your application is successful. What is the dollar amount you can expect to be paid monthly? What medical coverage will you receive? Are there any other services that will be available? Given the cost in time and frustration, is the return worth the investment? The answer to these questions will greatly depend on your specific circumstances.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The amount of disability benefits you will receive for SSDI is based on the average earnings you’ve had throughout your life. In 2007, the maximum disability benefit was $2,116 a month. You can review your income history in the Social Security Statement you receive each year or you can contact the Social Security Administration for this information. Members of your family (spouse and children) may also be eligible for benefits. After you’ve received disability benefits for two years, you will be eligible for Medicare.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you meet the medical qualifications for disability, but you do not meet the income requirements, you should be eligible for SSI, which makes monthly payments to people who have low incomes and few resources. The monthly SSI disability benefits payments vary considerably based on your income and the laws in your state.

Some additional disability benefits such as social services and food stamps are available in some states for those who receive SSI. Your local social security office can provide details about what services are available to you; they may include things such as housekeeping assistance and transportation. Generally those who qualify for SSI also qualify for food stamps, but you will need to complete an application.

In the majority of states, Medicaid is available to those who qualify for SSI. You will again be required to file an additional application. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid benefits begin at the same time as disability benefits. Additionally, a number of states will pay your Medicare premium when you become eligible for that service.

Understanding Disability Benefits – The Series

  1. I Can’t Hold a Job! What Do I Do? – Introduction
  2. What is Disability?
  3. Do I Qualify for Disability Benefits?
  4. Is Bipolar Disorder a Qualified Condition for Disability Benefits?
  5. How Do I Start My Disability Application?
  6. What Information and Paperwork Do I Need?
  7. What Happens with My Application?
  8. How Long Will It Take to Get Disability Benefits?
  9. What Disability Benefits Will I Get?
  10. Who Can Help Me?

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