DISABILITY INSURANCE BENEFITS
To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for 20 quarters (5 years) out of the past 40 quarters (10 years) and have earned a minimum amount per quarter. The minimum earnings amount changes annually. The amount of earnings required for a quarter of coverage (QC) in 2014 is $1,200. “Quarter of coverage” is a legal term, but you may also see the term “Social Security credit” (or just “credit”) used elsewhere. A Quarter of Coverage is the basic unit for determining whether a worker is insured under the Social Security program. No matter how high your earnings may be, you can not earn more than 4 QC’s in one year. Social Security is like an insurance policy that expires if you don’t pay into it, however the payments you have made stay there until you retire… you just can’t get them out for disability unless you’ve met these current earnings requirements.
Benefits range from a minimum of $1.00 per month to a maximum that varies with how much and how long a person has paid into the system.
Medicare coverage comes with Disability Insurance Benefits, not just retirement benefits! It begins the first day of the 25th month after the disability eligibility date. If you are enrolled in Medicare you are eligible to enroll in a Medicare-approved drug discount program, unless you receive outpatient prescription drugs through the Oregon Health Plan. Signing up for a Medicare-approved drug discount card is voluntary. You can sign up any time in 2004 and there’s no deadline or late enrollment penalty.
Children and a spouse of a disabled worker can receive an additional monthly benefit but not Medicare coverage.
SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program for indigent claimants. SSI is paid to disabled people who have never worked, or who haven’t worked enough to earn the necessary quarters to qualify for Social Security DIB payments. SSI can also be paid to a person who has not worked in the five years prior to the alleged date of disability onset. Eligibility also has an asset limit of $2000.
If a “regular Social Security” (Title II) recipient gets a low monthly benefit due to a limited work record, the ayment amount may be supplemented up to the SSI amount, if asset limits can also be met.
There is no separate benefit for the spouse or children of an SSI recipient.
See this link for what is considered a countable asset: http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-resources-ussi.htm