What Benefits Does the SSA Offer?


After you have applied for your Social Security benefits, you may have gotten this far in the process only to realize that you do not know exactly what kind of benefits you may be getting. Once you have made it through the claims process and have been approved for Social Security benefits, you are entitled to two different types: money and medical benefits.

Money Benefits

The amount of money that you paid into Social Security while you were employed will determine the amount of cash that you will receive from disability payments. As you might expect, the more money you made while you were working, the bigger the percentage that you paid to Social Security. That percentage will be returned to you in cash form. You can estimate your monthly benefit by looking at your Social Security Statement. Visit the SSA website and click “Get your Social Security Statement.” You will need to create an account first before you can view that statement online. Once you have created your account and downloaded your statement, look for your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). This amount is the estimate of what your monthly benefits will be.

You are entitled to benefits for as long as your disability keeps you from working. Once you reach age 65, however, the Social Security benefits turn over to retirement benefits. The overall amount awarded to you will not change. The Social Security Administration closely monitors your condition and will terminate benefits if your condition improves to where you can work.

Medical Benefits

In addition to money, you also receive medical benefits. All Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are automatically enrolled in Medicare. Officially, you are enrolled two years after the date of entitlement, or when you are deemed eligible. This may sound like a long time, but luckily, SSDI also permits past-due or retroactive benefits that will help cover that time when you weren’t receiving your benefits.

Past-Due and Retroactive Benefits

Applying for Social Security benefits can be a long process. It can take months. During the time that you are applying, you are not receiving benefits and will not until your case is approved. Once it is approved, you will receive benefits from the date of approval onward. But what about the period of time before your case was approved, while you were applying? The SSA recognizes that you also need money during that time. Past-due benefits are awarded that make up for the time between when the initial application is filed and the date the benefits are awarded. The SSA will determine an established onset date (EOD), which is the date your condition is determined to be disabling, and you will receive benefits from that date. After an EOD is set, there is a guaranteed five month waiting period.

Retroactive benefits apply to the SSDI recipients with EOD’s prior to the application submission. These benefits are only given up to 12 months before the application is submitted (and 17 months before the EOD), however.

Past-due and retroactive benefits most often are delivered in a lump sum. To calculate this sum, you take your PIA and multiply it by the number of months eligible for past-due or retroactive benefits.

When do I receive these benefits?

You are paid based on the day of the month when your birthday falls. Visit the Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments 2014 for more specific dates.

Photo Courtesy of 401(K) 2012 and Creative Commons.