Social Security disability benefits are available to those who are unable to work due to illness or injury. If you’re considering applying for Social Security disability, you probably have questions about the qualifications. One question many people have is “can I apply for Social Security disability benefits if I have family members who are working?”
We’ve discussed in previous blogs that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) requires claimants to show that you worked and earned an appropriate number of work credits, and that you paid taxes during your career. A claimant’s financial situation or resources, including working family members, do not impact eligibility for SSDI.
This is significantly different from Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. SSI and SSDI are similar in terms of the specific medical criteria that a claimant must meet in order to be eligible for benefits. However, in order to get approved for SSI benefits, there are financial requirements that must be met as well.
SSI was designed to help disabled people who have next to no sources of income. The monthly benefit supports the most basic needs of the claimant: clothing, shelter, food, and other living expenses. For these reasons, those who accept SSI cannot exceed a certain asset level, and so the financial situations of family members can factor into eligibility. A single person can have up to $2,000 in resources and a married couple can have up to $3,000 in resources. SSI does not count your home or one vehicle. For detailed information on the resource limits for SSI, you can visit https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-resources.htm.
If your spouse is working and you are not eligible for SSDI, you may still be eligible for SSI if your spouse’s income falls below the allowed threshold. For more information on income limits, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-income-ussi.htm.
The federal benefit rate, or FBR, determines both the income limit for SSI and the maximum monthly payment. In 2020, the maximum monthly benefit amount is $783 per month for individuals and $1,175 per month for couples who both receive SSI disability. The maximum benefit amount may be reduced if you receive free housing/shelter or food.
If a disability or injury has rendered you unable to work, call our office today. We can help determine your eligibility for SSDI and SSI benefits, and assist you through the process of filing a claim.