There are multiple types of benefits that you can file for that are generically called disability benefits. For each of them, you must be found to be medically disabled before you are eligible to receive the benefits.
The primary benefit that most people are filing for is a Title II disability benefit. This is the benefit that you can receive if you have paid enough Social Security taxes during your career and have also paid into the system recently enough. This generally requires that you have worked substantially in five of the last 10 years. The amount of this benefit varies based on how much you earned for the work you did.
If you haven’t paid into Social Security enough to qualify for Title II disability benefits then you may be eligible for Title XVI (SSI) benefits. SSI is essentially a welfare disability benefit. The ultimate determination of whether you are medically disabled is the same for both Title II and Title XVI benefits, but the determination of how much the monthly cash benefit can be is very different. As noted above, the Title II benefit is tied to what you paid into the Social Security system. The SSI benefit, however, is tied to your income or available resources (things that have actual cash value – like vehicles, real property, certain life insurance policies, and retirement benefits). If you do not have sufficient income or resources then you may be able to get SSI benefits if you are found to be disabled. In 2019 the SSI benefit is limited to a maximum of $771 per month for an eligible disabled person.
Another adult disability benefit that can be paid is called a Disabled Widow(er)s Benefit (DWB). This is for individuals who are over age 50 and who have become widowed within 7 years of the date they became disabled. You are not eligible for DWB if you have remarried.
A DWB benefit uses what your deceased spouse paid into Social Security to give you access to disability benefits. The medical definition of disability is the same for a DWB claim as it is for Title II and SSI benefits.
Each of these types of disability claims can provide additional access to medical coverage. With a Title II disability benefit and a Disabled Widows Benefit, you can get access to early Medicare benefits. Those benefits start 24 months after your first entitlement to cash benefits from Social Security. Depending on your cash benefit amount, you may also be eligible for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid benefits, like SSI benefits, have a financial component to the determination of whether you are eligible and what you might be eligible for. Generally, those who qualify for SSI should qualify for Medicaid too.
I can help you determine what benefits you might be eligible for – call me at (704) 412-4773.