An Overview of Social Security Benefits

The federal U.S. Social Security Administration administers the retirement and disability benefits programs for Americans.

Social Security Disability Benefits

Disabled workers with a sufficient work history and lifetime earnings may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits.

Differences Between SSDI and SSI

Disabled individuals without a sufficient amount of lifetime earnings of work history, blind individuals and the elderly may qualify for Supplemental Security Income or SSI benefits. Unlike SSDI, the SSI program is limited to individuals with very limited means and assets. Generally, if you worked less than two years, you may not qualify for SSDI. You may, however, qualify for SSI benefits. If you qualify for SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration automatically converts your disability benefits to retirement benefits once you reach retirement age.

Although there are many important differences between SSI and SSDI, one of the most important distinctions is that survivors and dependents of SSDI recipients may be entitled to derivative or auxiliary benefits whereas surviving family members of SSI recipients are not.

Social Security Retirement Benefits

The SSI program typically does not provide retirement benefits. Instead, to receive retirement Social Security benefits, you must qualify for SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits. The age at which you qualify for retirement benefits varies and depends on the year you were born. For example, if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. Thus, once you reach age 66, you may qualify for your full Social Security retirement benefits. However, for those born after 1960, full retirement age is at least 67 years old and increases incrementally each year thereafter.

Understand Your Rights

To receive Social Security retirement benefits, you must have earned wages or paid Social Security taxes as a self-employed individual or employer. To understand your rights to Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you should contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.