September 18, 2017
While disability benefits, which are available to millions of disabled Americans, are a welcome financial assistance program, these benefits often do not cover the full financial needs of the recipients. Here, the disability advocates at Disability Associates detail other programs and benefits to help supplement Social Security disability benefits.
Part of earning Social Security disability benefits is the implication that your disability prevents you from continuing to work your former job at the capacity you formerly did. This is known as being able to perform “substantial gainful work.” The Social Security Administration (SSA), however, permits a certain level of income to be made monthly before a recipient of disability benefits is considered to be performing “substantial gainful work,” and is therefore no longer eligible for disability benefits. As of 2017, the maximum monthly income amount is $1,170, and for those who are blind it is increased to $1,950. For those who own their own business, these income levels are not absolute—the SSA will need to consider the tasks you perform, hours you work and other factors before deciding whether you are still eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Keeping to these income limits is an important way for those who are disabled to supplement their benefits.
SNAP benefits, or food stamps, are also available to some individuals who receive disability benefits. For those who are disabled, or have a disabled member in their household, the “countable resources” limit to receive food stamps is $3,250, which is slightly raised from the $2,250 level for non-disabled individuals. Countable resources do not include your home or property. Furthermore, the household must meet a monthly gross, and net, income test to be eligible.
Typically, those who live in an institution that provides them their meals are not eligible for SNAP benefits. However, disabled individuals who live in a nonprofit group home that houses less than 16 residents may still be eligible for food stamps.
Workers’ Compensation and Private Disability Benefits
Disabled individuals currently receiving Social Security disability benefits may simultaneously receive private disability benefits. This may include payments from an insurance policy or coverage from an employer—for disabled veterans, this may also include disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Talk to your insurance provider, employer or local Veterans Affairs office to determine your private benefit eligibility.
Workers’ compensation payments are also available for those who are receiving Social Security disability benefits. The sum total of your disability benefits and workers’ compensation payments cannot be more than 80% of your average wages before you became disabled. If it is, your Social Security disability benefits will be reduced to bring your total benefits to the 80% threshold. If you continue to receive Social Security disability benefits when your workers’ compensation payments end, your disability benefits will be increased to their former level.
How Disability Associates Can Help
It is crucial for every recipient of Social Security disability benefits to maximize their benefits in order to maintain a decent quality of life. At Disability Associates, our skilled disability advocates work hard to help you determine the ideal set of benefits for you and your family. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!