who qualifies as "disabled" may be eligible for cash benefits
through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA
defines "disabled" as being "unable to engage in substantial
gainful activity." If an individual who qualifies as disabled
has "insured worker" status, i.e., the individual who is disabled
has worked long enough and has paid enough in social security
taxes, then he will be entitled to SSDI benefits. Those
individuals who are disabled before age 22 but do not themselves
have "insured worker" status, may also be entitled to SSDI benefits
based on the earnings record of a retired or deceased
because they are based on the earnings record of the individual who
is disabled or that of a retired or deceased parent, are not based
on financial need. In other words, unearned income and
resources will have no effect on eligibility for such
benefits. Twenty-four months after first becoming eligible
for SSDI benefits, an individual will also be eligible for Medicare
coverage. As is the case with SSDI eligibility, income and
resources will not affect entitlement for such coverage.
Medicare serves as the primary insurance assuming no other coverage
If the above
does not apply, the individual who is disabled may qualify for SSI
benefits. Unlike SSDI, SSI is based on financial need and,
thus, an individual must not only qualify as disabled, but also
meet income and resource requirements. In general, the
resource limit is $2,000 for a single individual and $3,000 for a
married individual, which does not include the primary residence
owned by the individual, a vehicle, household goods and personal
effects, a burial plan, burial plot, and limited life
insurance. An individual who is eligible for SSI benefits in
any amount is categorically or automatically eligible for Medicaid
or Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) benefits.
Medicaid or AHCCCS is the "payer of last resort," and, thus, serves
as the secondary insurance to Medicare.
with a disability who are under the age of 18 may not financially
qualify for SSI benefits due to the fact that the income and
resources of the parents are deemed or attributed to the
child. However, at age 18 parental deeming no longer applies.
On the other hand, a child with a disability over the age of
18 who qualifies for SSI may have his SSI offset or reduced by SSDI
on the retirement or death of a parent.
with a disability whose SSDI benefit is less than the federal
maximum benefit rate, which is currently $698 per month in Arizona
effective 1/1/2012, will receive an SSI benefit that results in a
total benefit of $718 per month effective 1/1/2012 (the first $20
of unearned income is disregarded for SSI eligibility purposes) if
he meets the financial requirements of the SSI program.
The SSA will
appoint a Representative Payee to receive and manage the disability
benefits of an individual who is under the age of 18 or who is
incapable of managing the benefit himself. A Representative
Payee has a duty to report material information that may impact the
individual's eligibility for benefits, and account to the SSA
annually for his management of such benefits.
3200 North Central Avenue
. Phoenix . Arizona