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Article: Social Security Benefits Information

Benefits Information

Table of Contents
  1. Benefits Information

Social Security

The Social Security Administration's (SSA) retirement program has been a basic part of American life for more than 68 years. In addition to providing benefits for retired workers, Social Security also provides financial support for younger workers and their families who face a loss of income due to disability or the death of a family wage earner.

Supplemental Society Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly disability income for those who meet Social Security rules for disability and who have limited income and resources.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is wage replacement insurance for a primary wage earner who becomes disabled or dies and who has paid FICA taxes for the required length of time. SSDI provides income for family members when a primary wage earner in the family becomes disabled or dies. SSDI is financed with FICA taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. SSDI benefits are also payable to disabled workers, widows, widowers, and children or adults disabled since childhood who meet eligibility requirements (see "Medical Eligibility").

Medical Eligibility - Definition of Disability

To be eligible for the SSDI program, the Social Security definition of disability must be met. To meet medical eligibility requirements, an individual must be unable to engage in any "Substantial Gainful Activity" for at least 12 months. This is the same medical definition used in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program that defines Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) as, "any significant activity, physical or mental, which is performed for pay over a reasonable period of time." SGA dollar amounts are adjusted every January, in a process called indexing.

Social Security also has separate eligibility rules for individuals who are blind

Ticket-to-Work Program

The Ticket-to-Work Program is a protection and advocacy program created to serve Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities who want to continue to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies beneficiaries who are eligible to participate in the Ticket Program by issuing them a "Ticket". Beneficiaries receiving a ticket are referred to as "Ticket-holders".

Ticket-to-Work participants are able to choose an authorized service provider for assistance in reaching their employment goals. Service providers will help with job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation, and transportation. A job coach may also be provided.

Beneficiaries eligible for the Ticket Program include:

  • Youth determined to be disabled under Social Security's adult rules after age 18.

  • Adult Social Security disability beneficiaries who are Childhood Disability Beneficiaries (CDB), formerly referred to as Disabled Adult Children (DAC).

  • Adults under age 65 who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Plans for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)

PASS is a written plan that identifies what an individual needs in order to return to work. The plan is submitted to the Social Security Administration. It identifies work goals and how long it will take to achieve them. The plan also defines what the cost will be to achieve set goals.

The work goal can be to obtain part or full time work. You can work at home or away from home, work for wages, or start your own business. The plan must be something you can realistically expect to accomplish and will generate adequate income for you.

The things you need to buy must be related to your goal such as: training or tuition, a car or van for transportation, a computer or tools and supplies for your trade or business, day care for a child while you work or attend school, or adaptive technology.

The PASS lets you put income which would otherwise reduce, eliminate, or make you ineligible for an SSI check into a separate bank account. That money may be spent on those items identified in PASS. The length of time your PASS will take will depend on your plan, what you need, and the amount of money you have available to put in the account.

A PASS must be approved by Social Security before it takes effect.

Last Updated on 10/16/2007