Social Security disability benefits provide primary and/or supplemental income for disabled individuals of all ages. These benefits, which may be paid through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are issued monthly and help you ensure your financial needs and obligations are met.
SSDI Benefit Payments
The SSDI program is funded through income taxes under the Social Security Act. Along with other Social Security programs, SSDI monies are held in a trust with the federal government. That trust is invested to produce additional income. Monthly distributions from the trust are governed by the Social Security Act and include SSDI as well as old age/retirement, dependent, and other Social Security benefits. To qualify for SSDI, you must have paid Social Security taxes.
Income taxes that fund the Social Security’s programs are included in FICA, a payroll tax that is automatically withheld from the paychecks of the majority of American workers. Taxes paid directly to the IRS by self-employed individuals also contribute to the Social Security trust. Notably, FICA and self-employment taxes also fund Medicare, and disabled individuals that receive SSDI automatically qualify for Medicare after 24 months on disability benefits.
If you’re approved for SSDI, then your monthly benefits will be issued directly by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and your payment date depends on your birth date. Benefits are either direct deposited into the bank account you assign or loaded to a benefit card account. You can learn more about the electronic payment process here.
SSI Program Administration
The SSI program is federally mandated but is administered jointly between the federal and state governments. The program is additionally funded by both federal and state tax dollars, and both the U.S. and your home state government therefore have rules and regulations that determine eligibility for benefits as well as how benefits are issued. FICA and self-employment taxes do not fund SSI however. Instead, general income taxes, corporate taxes, and other tax dollars pay for SSI.
Many states offer supplemental benefits to certain SSI beneficiaries. In nearly all states, SSI eligibility additionally includes eligibility for food stamps other supplemental programs, like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Most SSI recipients qualify for Medicaid too.
Dependent upon your chosen method of distribution, SSI is direct deposited or electronically transferred to a benefit card account. Payments are made on the first day of each month, unless the first is on a weekend, in which case you’ll receive your SSI benefits on the Friday just prior to the first of the month.
Applying for Benefits and Getting Help with Your Claim
A disability application for SSDI can be filed online, at the local SSA office, or in some cases, over the phone, by calling 1-800-772-1213. SSI applications however require a call to the SSA or a trip to the local office because a personal interview is a standard part of the process.
No matter how you complete your application, you’ll want to do everything you can to increase your chances of approval. This includes working closely with your doctor throughout and potentially consulting a disability advocate or attorney. Both your doctor and your attorney or advocate can help you prepare to apply, strengthen your claim with solid evidence, and help you fight a denial of benefits through the SSA’s appeal process, if necessary.