An Overview of Social Security Disability Insurance
Two programs are being enacted by the federal government, which provides benefits for individuals with disability. Collectively, these programs are being referred to as 'Social Security disability benefits.'
* Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits Program or SSDI Benefits - authorized by the Social Security Act, Title II and is geared towards providing benefits to workers with disability and / or their dependents and surviving spouses or children.
* Supplemental Security Income program or SSI - authorized by the Social Security Act, Title XVI and aimed at giving benefits to individuals with disability whose assets and income are below a particular level.
History of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits
It was in the year 1935 when the U.S. federal government set up a program geared towards providing elderly employees of commercial and industrial sectors with retirement benefits. The scheme of this program is enacted through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA, setting up a federal retirement fund that the employees are required to pay into. The employees remit into this fund through a regular deduction on their salary.
It is the Social Security and the Medicare programs that are funded after the withdrawal of FICA tax from the employees' salaries. Meanwhile, self-employed citizens can contribute to the FICA because of the federal tax returns.
By 1956, some protection policies covering the 'involuntary retirement' options on the basis of disability were established. An individual, even if he / she has been forced to stop working because of a disability may still have access to the disability insurance. It would depend, however, on the period he / she have paid FICA taxes.
Objectives of SSDI
The main objective of the SSDI is to replace the regular income being received by people who have acquired a disability and can no longer work at all or hold down his/her present work, provided that he / she has remitted adequate FICA taxes.
Under the SSDI, different kinds of benefits are provided for family members when their major wage earner have acquired a disability or died.
The SSDI program is being financed by the Social Security taxes being paid by employees, employers and self-employed individuals. SSDI benefits can be paid to workers with disability, widows or widowers, and children or disabled since childhood adults if they are eligible.
Availing SSDI benefits
The Social Security has a particular definition of disability that need to be met in order to become eligible to receive SSDI benefits. The main requirement to gain medical eligibility under the SSDI program is the inability by an individual to perform any kind of Substantial Gainful Activity or SGA for 12 months or more.
This medical definition of disability is also the requirements used to become eligible under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
The person with disability should have been unable to perform SGA due to an impairment affecting the physical or mental capacity and is medically determinable. The impairment can also either be expected to last continuously for at least 12 months or result in death.
After meeting the requirements given by the disability evaluation and the disability is already proven, the payments of SSDI benefits will commence. The beneficiary needs to wait for a period of 5 months since it is during the sixth month after the disability began that benefits payment start. It will continue up to the second month's end of the disability.
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