Federal and National Programs
Basic eligibility requirements for federal and national programs do not vary from state to state, but the amount of the benefit may vary. There are four categories of federal/national programs:
- Income providing programs
- Health insurance (Medicare)
- Veteran's benefits
- Worker's compensation
Income Providing Programs
At the federal/national level, two programs provide income:
- Social Security Disability (SSD)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Social Security Disability (SSD)
SSD is an income program administered by the Social Security Administration.
To be eligible, you must be blind or disabled, and must have worked for a required number of quarters under the social security system. The amount of the monthly benefit is based on the your earnings record.
Benefits are also available to
- the spouse and minor children of a disabled worker;
- the disabled or elderly widow or widower of a deceased worker;
- an adult child who became disabled before the age of 22.
Social Security Disability is an entitlement program—it is not means-tested. You can earn a limited amount without losing benefits. There is no limit on unearned income such as interest and dividends from investments.
Individuals with minimal Social Security Disability payments may also qualify for SSI.
You can click here for more information on Social Security.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is an income program administered by the Social Security Administration and the states to provide elderly, blind, or disabled individuals with a minimum income level. The Federal benefit rate in 2000 is $512.
There are reductions in the benefit if you (or your spouse or parent) receive earned or unearned income. The resource limit for SSI is $2000 for an individual.
You can click here for more information on Supplemental Security Income.
Health Insurance: Medicare
Persons entitled to Social Security on the basis of age or disability are generally eligible to enroll in the Medicare program. With some exceptions for specific health conditions, Medicare eligibility generally begins two years after an individual has qualified for Social Security Disability.
Medicare Part A
Pays for inpatient hospitalization, acute inpatient rehabilitation, and skilled nursing home care for a maximum of 100 days. There is an annual deductible and co-payments.
There is no premium for Medicare Part A.
Medicare Part B
Pays for physician's care and outpatient services such as therapy, laboratory services, x-rays. There is an annual deductible and co-payments.
After the annual deductible is met, Medicare Part B pays for 80% of the approved (usual and customary) cost of the service. Physicians and medical services that participate in the Medicare program agree to "accept assignment" by accepting the approved rate as the full cost of care.
There is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which is deducted from the monthly social security benefit. Some individuals enrolled in the Medicaid program qualify to have the state pay the Medicare premium.
You can click here for more information on Medicare.
Service-connected disability benefits are not offset or reduced by other sources of income. However, benefits that aren't service-connected may be reduced if you or family members have other sources of income, including SSD or SSI.
To initiate a claim for benefits, contact the Veterans Administration regional office for your area or the Veterans Administration Representative assigned to your county courthouse.
Worker's comp provides medical benefits and compensation for loss of income for injuries or illnesses that arise from employment.