Can Supplemental Security Income or Disability Pay for Living Costs?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits to eligible individuals with limited income and resources who fall under one of the following categories: disabled, blind, or over the age of 65. Applying for SSI includes an application for Social Security benefits; however, eligibility for SSI does not depend on the individual or their family’s work history.

According to Disability Benefits Help, approximately 70% of initial social security claims are denied. Most applicants will then need to go through a stringent appeals process in order to get approved for disability benefits.

In most cases, individuals who qualify for SSI will also be eligible for Medicaid benefits to cover their medical costs. In addition, they may also meet the eligibility requirements for other federal, state, municipal, or nonprofit assistance programs.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to eligible individuals if they meet the insurance requirements, which includes a work history that included payment of Social Security taxes. Many individuals have significant income and assets that are not considered during the SSDI application process. Those who are awarded SSDI benefits may eventually qualify for Medicare after a 24-month waiting period. Depending on their individual financial situation, they may qualify for Medicaid until Medicare benefits are approved.

Recipients of both of these benefits may use their payments in any way they wish, with the exception of individuals with a Social Security Representative Payee. Payments should be used wisely, as in most cases they do not cover all of the financial needs of the individual.

Berger and Green, a disability lawyer, offers a variety of public assistance organizations that exist to help individuals with basic living costs. Specific organizations vary depending on the area in which the individual lives, but they may include the following types of assistance: housing assistance (varies on location), food assistance (federal program called SNAP, local organizations), and utility assistance (possible budget billing options, possible energy efficiency programs, possible payment plans, federal program called LIHEAP)

At times, individuals will receive pack pay for SSDI once approved. These payments are paid in a lump sum and can sometimes be a considerable amount of money. However, individuals should be cautious in how they choose to apply their benefits to debt. Disability Benefits Help suggests first paying off bills that were incurred during the application process, then paying remaining outstanding debts. If there is money left over, individuals should consider putting it in interest-bearing savings account for future unexpected expenses.

Sometimes, the Social Security Administration decides that individuals are not able to handle their own SSDI benefits. In these cases, they will assign a Social Security Disability Representative Payee to handle how payments are applied to the individual’s expenses. They must use the benefits to cover the costs of basic living expenses before applying the amount to any other debts or expenses. This representative is accountable to the Social Security Administration and must present a detailed report of how every dollar is spent.