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Article: Guide To Financial Benefits

Social Security Benefits

Table of Contents
  1. Social Security Benefits
  2. Medicare
  3. Medicaid
  4. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  5. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA)
  6. Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (OBRA)
  7. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  8. Private Health Insurance
  9. Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance
  10. Long Term Care Coverage and Financing

Social Security
Supplemental Society Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Medical Eligibility - Definition of a Disability
Ticket-to-Work Program
Plans for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)

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").

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Social Security Online
The mission of Social Security offices is to advance the economic security of the Nation's people through compassionate and vigilant leadership in shaping and managing America's Social Security programs. At this consumer oriented site, you can learn more about Social Security benefits and eligibility requirements, apply for retirement or disability benefits, use convenient retirement planners, and much more.

Disability Benefits 101
Disability Benefits 101 was conceived and developed in the disability community. Supported by the World Institute on Disability, this comprehensive website has current and accurate information on employment, health coverage, and benefits, including Social Security. You can find rules for health coverage, benefits, and employment programs that people with disabilities. States, the federal government, or private organizations may administer these programs. The information is simply written and easy to understand.

Benefits for Children with Disabilities, an Electronic Booklet
This booklet is written primarily for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities, and adults disabled since childhood. It illustrates the kinds of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits a child with a disability might be eligible for and explains how the Social Security Administration evaluates disability claims for children.

Social Security Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Program
The SSA Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Program, known as Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS), was created to serve Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries who want to work despite their continuing disabilities. The Fact Sheet provided here answers questions about the program and directs individuals to resources within their own state.

Red Book, a Summary Guide to Employment Support for Individuals with Disabilities
This online resource, provided by Social Security Online, is a general reference source for employment-related provisions of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. While the book was written for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors serving individuals with disabilities, SSA expects that many applicants and beneficiaries will use this book as a self-help guide to employment-related provisions under their programs.

SSA Disability Starter Kits
Disability Starter Kits are available for both adults and children under age 18. Starter Kits have information about the specific documents and information that SSA requests from its beneficiaries. The kits also have general information about disability programs and the SSA decision-making process.

Each Disability Starter Kit contains a:

  • Fact sheet that answers questions most frequently asked by applicants of disability benefits.
  • Checklist of documents and information SSA requests.
  • Worksheet to help gather and organize information.

Last Updated on 12/27/2017