How Secure Are My Social Security Benefits?

Posted by Scott Flexer on Dec 19 2014

Fotolia_61791814_Subscription_Monthly_MSocial Security benefits, in the form of Sociaal  Security Retirement Benefits for retirees and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are financial lifelines for over 40 million Americans every year. These benefits are paid to keep retirees, the disabled and their families fiscally afloat in lieu of full-time work.  The circumstances under which these benefits are paid vary; nevertheless, they are a financial lifeline to multitudes of people.

With quality of life and sustainable income on the line, many of those enrolled in Social Security benefit programs question the security of their benefits. What grounds result in benefit termination? How can beneficiaries and their families ensure the security of their benefits?

In this article, we break down security for benefits through SSI and SSDI, as well as factors that may affect your eligibility and benefit amount, including:

  • Medical reevaluations
  • Monthly earnings
  • Government shutdown

Your Benefits and Ongoing Eligibility

If you currently receive Supplemental Security Income benefits, or SSI, your eligibility is based on monthly earnings, living arrangements and your income level relative to the federal benefit rate (FBR); this is the nationwide standard for Supplemental Security income. If your monthly wages or existing disability benefits (SSDI) do not put you above this limit, SSI can be awarded to cover the difference.

SSI is a need-based program, designed to provide income to recipients in need of assistance. Funded by general tax revenues, SSI payments are intended for those in need age 65 or older, or affected by blindness or disability. When reviewing your benefits for SSI, the Social Security Administration will take into account your personal income, household income and assets to decide whether SSI payments are still payable to you.

Note: the SSA does not take into account the following when determining ongoing eligibility for SSI:  

  • Your home and the land on which it stands
  • One vehicle
  • Furniture, appliances or household items valued up to a specified amount
  • Goods purchased
  • Burial plots and funds set aside for burial up to a specified amount
  • Cash surrender value of life insurance policies whose face value is $1,500 or less

If you are currently receiving disability benefits for an eligible condition expected to last at least one year, you may be subject to medical reevaluations. The SSA uses these reviews to determine whether your condition  continues to limit your ability to work. To continue receiving benefits for SSDI, you must meet all necessary work, income and medical requirements as identified by the SSA.

When it comes to SSI and SSDI benefit security, you can never be too careful. If you’re unsure of the future of your needed benefits, don’t wait to contact a disability expert in your state today.

Government Activity and Your Benefits

What about the security of benefits during changes in government, or a potential government shutdown? How is the SSA affected, and what does this mean for my needed benefits?

Benefits provided by the Social Security Administration through SSI or SSDI are funded entirely by tax revenues, and personal contributions to Social Security in the form of tax credits. Disability benefits and monthly SSI amounts are not affected in any way by government shutdowns or furloughs of employees.

However, such a shutdown would result in discontinuation of several services provided by the SSA, which could cause complications for adjustments to  payment amounts or the processing of  appeals. In the event of partial shutdown, the SSA would have to downsize its operations in order to continue providing basic benefits for SSI and SSDI. Services the SSA would likely cease include:

  • Earnings record updating
  • Hearing appeals
  • Medicare card replacement
  • Social Security card replacement
  • New case tracking
  • Docketing
  • Quality assurance reviews and Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs)

For benefits received through the SSI or SSDI programs, changes in government or potential office closures have no effect on standard payments. During a partial shutdown the SSA may even continue to accept new applications and disability claims.  For more information on how government changes or shutdowns mayh affect your benefits, don't hesitate.to contact us.

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Topics: disability benefits, social security, social security benefits, SSDI benefit security

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