Accidents can happen at any time. If you were recently injured and qualify for a legal settlement, you may be wondering, “how will my settlement affect my disability benefits?”
You have come to the right place for answers. At Crest SSD, we support individuals all over the country with their Social Security Disability benefits. We can help relieve your stress by explaining the interaction between a legal settlement and disability benefits.
Difference Between SSDI vs. SSI
First, it is important to identify what type of benefits you are receiving and how the requirements and qualifications differ for each.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is work-based and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is needs-based. Through an understanding of the differences between these two types of Social Security Disability benefits, then we can begin to examine how an injury settlement may impact each of the disability programs.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD/SSDI) benefits are payable to individuals who have reached the minimum required amount of work credits.
The work credits are the number of years you have worked and paid into the Social Security trust fund via FICA tax. You can also receive benefits on behalf of a spouse or parent.
SSDI amounts vary based on factors such as previous work history, the severity of a disability, personal income, and additional factors outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits provide income assistance to low-income disabled, blind, and elderly individuals. SSI is not based on work history. However, SSA requires that you have a limited amount of income and resources.
SSI benefit amounts are typically uniform and cannot exceed $783 per month (as of 2020). SSI amounts are lessened based on factors regarding income, savings, resources, and other factors outlined by the SSA.
Settlement Impact on Each Type of Benefit
– SSDI: Individuals who currently receive SSDI have already met the requirements to qualify for these types of benefits by proving their disability and paying into the Social Security system for the minimum required years.
Therefore, a personal injury settlement will not affect those receiving SSDI benefits.
– SSI: For those receiving SSI, the requirements are based on a strict limit to income, resources, and assets. Individuals owning even as much as $2,000 in assets can be disqualified for benefits ($3,000 for married couples).
This means that accepting a lump sum settlement amount could very likely disrupt or cancel your SSI benefits.
Options for Continuing SSI Benefits
While it could be detrimental in the long run for an individual receiving SSI benefits to accept a personal injury settlement, there are options so that you can still receive the injury settlement without impacting your SSI benefits.
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a type of trust that is specifically geared towards disabled individuals receiving SSI benefits.
This trust allows you to access your settlement funds to pay for your needs, such as surgery, prescription medications, therapy, home modifications, and in-home assistance. Through placing your funds in a SNT, you may be able to preserve your SSI benefits.
Contact Us For Disability Benefits Support
At Crest SSD, we specialize in supporting individuals just like you with Social Security Disability benefits. We know the ins and outs of the process from applying for benefits, being approved for benefits, and maintaining benefits.
When concerned about whether a settlement or other situation will affect your disability benefits, contact us to discuss. Our team of experts can help you at this critical stage of the journey.
– Know someone who needs support with their disability benefits application? Utilize this free evaluation form or have them call us at the number above to chat with a member of our team.