How Much Disability Will I Get If I Never Worked?

There are two government programs available to help disabled individuals, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). While both share similar requirements when determining if an applicant has an eligible medical condition, they are drastically different in their financial requirements.

SSDI is a safety net available for people who have worked and paid into the Social Security system. However, what if you never worked or were too young to have ever worked? SSI is a needs-based program funded through the general tax fund. Additionally, a child or adult who never worked could qualify for benefits through their parent’s or spouse’s SSDI. The amount you receive will depend on what program, along with your income and resources.

If you are receiving SSDI through your spouse or parent, your disability payments will be based on their salary and how long they were paying Social Security taxes. For people receiving SSI, their monthly benefits are capped at $794 for an individual and $1,191 for a person with an eligible spouse. However, these amounts could be reduced based on your resources and assets. If you or your child needs disability benefits, contact our Philadelphia disability lawyers. Call (215) 515-2954 or (609) 557-3081 if you are in New Jersey to schedule a free appointment at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates.

Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income

SSI is a federal program intended to provide a safety net for people in need. To qualify for SSI, a person must be 65 or older, disabled, or blind. Furthermore, you must be a United States citizen or a lawful resident. Because SSI is a needs-based program, you also must have very little income or other financial resources. However, you do not have to have a work history to be eligible for SSI.

If you are under the age of 65, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s disability criteria and the financial requirements. Because it is challenging to prove you have a qualifying condition, you should speak with one of our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability lawyers if you want to apply for SSI.

As of 2021, the maximum amount for SSI is $794 a month for an individual. If you also have a qualifying spouse, the monthly amount increases to $1,191. However, this amount could be reduced if you earn any countable income or have any available countable resources.

Countable Income

The SSA considers income anything a person receives, either in case or in-kind, that could be used for shelter and food. Earned income includes wages, self-employment income, and royalties. Unearned income includes pensions, unemployment, interest, dividends, inheritances, and contributions from friends or family members.

The SSA also looks at what is referred to as “deemed” income. Deemed income includes the income of people you live with, including your spouse or parents. Therefore, for a child to receive SSI benefits, their parents must also have limited income and resources.

Countable Resources

The SSA will also consider your assets and resources when determining if you are eligible for SSI benefits. Typically, any resource or asset that could be turned into cash is counted as a resource. However, not all your assets are included. The SSA excludes your home, household goods, and one vehicle necessary for transportation. To qualify for SSI benefits, your resources and assets cannot exceed $2,000 if you are an individual or $3,000 if you are an eligible couple.

Family Benefits Under Social Security Disability Insurance

Because a child depends on their parents, it is difficult for a disabled child to qualify for SSI. However, if you have earned sufficient work credits, your child could be eligible for benefits under your account.

Your child, whether they have a medical condition or not, could qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you are receiving SSDI. A child could also be eligible if their parent died but was entitled to Social Security benefits before they passed away. In some cases, a child could qualify under their grandparent’s benefits – if there were no living parents.

The amount your child will receive is based on your previous salary and the amount you paid into the Social Security system. Ordinarily, your child is eligible to receive up to 50% of your benefits.

Your child is eligible for these benefits until they turn eighteen unless they are enrolled as a full-time student in a secondary school. Then, they could continue to receive disability benefits until turning nineteen. However, if your child marries, they are no longer eligible. Once a child turns either eighteen or nineteen, they could qualify for SSI.

If your child has a qualifying medical condition, they could be eligible to receive SSDI benefits for as long as their condition continues. To qualify for this, a child must have been disabled before turning eighteen. For a young adult, the disability must have begun before their turned twenty-two.

Remember, these benefits are only available if the parent or other eligible recipient is receiving SSDI benefits. Therefore, a child who was disabled could start collecting SSDI benefits much later in their life if their parent begins receiving benefits.

If You Have Not Worked, or Your Child Requires Disability Benefits, Contact Our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Lawyers

Many people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey need disability benefits. Under the best of circumstances, applying for benefits is challenging. If you have never worked or your child requires benefits, it becomes more difficult. Our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability lawyers are committed to helping people in need obtain the benefits they require. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 515-2954 or, if New Jersey, (609) 557-3081 to review your options and next steps.

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