In North Carolina, you may qualify for monthly disability benefits from the federal government under the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), the Social Security Insurance program (SSI), or both.
North Carolina also offers a state supplement to certain aged, blind, or disabled persons through the State-County Special Assistance Program. Qualifying for SSDI or SSI makes you eligible to also receive health insurance through either Medicare, Medicaid, or both.
Understanding Social Security Disability Benefit Programs
The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages two programs to assist aged, blind, and disabled people: the SSDI and SSI programs.
Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI)
Under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), a portion of your earnings is subject to Social Security tax and placed into the Social Security Trust Fund. The taxed earnings are considered your contributions. Some of that money is then put into the Disability Insurance Fund.
If you made enough contributions to the fund over your lifetime, you may qualify for disability benefits through SSDI. Certain family members may also qualify for benefits when you begin receiving them, such as a spouse, ex-spouse, or child.
Social Security Insurance Program (SSI)
The Social Security Insurance program provides monetary assistance to aged, blind, and disabled people (including children) with low income. The federal government funds the SSI through general tax revenues. Some states also provide supplemental payments to people who receive SSI.
Social Security Administration Defines Disabled
The Social Security Administration Blue Book defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that can be medically diagnosed. Your disability must last for at least one year or be likely to result in death. For adults, it also must prevent you from being able to work for a living. You must meet these standards to be considered disabled. There are slightly different criteria for a disabled child.
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Who Qualifies for SSDI and SSI Benefits?
The requirements for each disability program are different. It is possible to receive SSDI and SSI benefits at the same time. The Social Security Administration calls these “concurrent” benefits. However, your SSDI payments can reduce your benefits from SSI.
Determining SSDI Eligibility
If you are a disabled worker under retirement age with enough FICA contributions, you are eligible for SSDI payments.
You will be evaluated based on your age and work history. You must have worked recently enough and long enough under the Social Security guidelines to qualify for benefits. Our attorneys can help you understand your eligibility status.
How to Qualify for SSI Benefits
In addition to having limited income and resources, in order to qualify for SSI payments, you must also meet one of the following requirements:
- Be retirement age or older
- Be fully or partially blind
- Have a medical condition or disability that fits Social Security requirements
How Much Disability Will I Receive?
The average monthly SSDI disability payment was $1,280 as of June 2021; however, the amount of your disability benefits is based on your average lifetime earnings.
The SSI provides a basic monthly payment nationwide: one for individuals and one for couples. That amount only represents the maximum amount that you could receive. Your actual payment may be reduced after your countable income is subtracted. SSI payments are adjusted each year based on cost-of-living. In 2022, the monthly benefit payment will be $841 for individuals and $1,261 for couples.
Disability Benefits Include Health Insurance
Once approved for either disability program, you can receive health insurance.
People receiving disability payments through the SSDI are automatically enrolled in Medicare after two years. Medicare pays for medical bills, including hospital stays, doctors’ visits, and prescription drugs.
In North Carolina, SSI recipients qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid covers approved medical expenses for low-income people.
State Supplemental Payments in North Carolina
North Carolina offers a monthly supplemental disability payment to elderly, blind, and disabled people who live in or need an adult care facility. These payments are made under the State/County Special Assistance Adult Care Home Program.
Cash assistance is also offered to aging, blind, or disabled individuals who are living in an adult care facility or at risk of having to live in one but would rather stay in their homes. The State/County Special Assistance In-Home Program provides money for living expenses.
Our Attorneys Help You Apply for Disability in North Carolina
You can apply for disability through the Social Security website, phone, mail, or in-person at your local Social Security office. A Social Security disability attorney at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC.
We can help you understand what social security disability benefits you qualify for in North Carolina and help gather the necessary documentation to file your Social Security Disability application. Contact us today at (828) 286-3866.