Unlike Supplemental Security Income, SSI the Social Security Disability benefits are only granted for people above the stated income threshold, i.e., $1360 as of 2019. People who earn below that income may qualify for the Supplemental Security Income that is purely a need-based program.
Although both programs are run under the federal rule, they differ in the type of people that qualify these programs. While people with lower incomes are granted supplemental income, people on SSDI may also find it difficult to manage medical and household affairs with that single 'socials security paycheck'. Fortunately, there are many options through which you can alleviate some of that financial suffering and make ends meet more smoothly.
Tips to live under a budget on SSDI
- Lower taxes
If you qualify for supplemental security income, SSI or social security disability benefits, SSDI, then you may be subject to a lower tax rate than you were before. Also, if you are married, you and your spouse can choose to file your taxes jointly, further reducing the tax rate on your social security benefits. For instance, the social security tax rate is 6.5% and the medicare tax rate is 1.45% for all U.S. employers. On the other hand, if you are receiving benefits under SSDI, this means you are unable to earn for yourself. Hence, you as an individual would be subjected to file taxes as 10-15% of 85% of your social security benefits provided that the annual amount of your benefits does not exceed 25,000. Hence, you should take advantage of the lower taxes to maximize your SSDI benefits budget.
If you qualify for SSDI, chances are you are unable to perform substantial work. However, it doesn't guarantee that you would be granted other need-based benefits such as SSI or Medicare. Yet, if your income falls below the SSDI income limits threshold after you started living on SSDI benefits, then you may be eligible to qualify for SSI or Medicare depending on your situation.
- Part-time job
You can perform a little amount of work or a part-time job for limited work hours each week. During this period, you cannot earn above the SGA amount each month. Otherwise you will not be considered as disabled and your benefits will be cancelled by the SSA. This is called 'trial work period' and can help alleviate your financial pressure through some extra income.
- Cut down prescription costs
A no brainer in itself, you can choose to go generic with your prescription drugs to reduce costs. That being said, it is very easy to find your prescription items with the same formula but lesser prices if you decide to forgo a certain brand of prescription drugs. Also, you can request your doctor for samples as many doctors receive them for free anyways. Another thing, though unpopular among people can save you a little money if done thoughtfully – you can choose to buy the prescription drugs in higher doses and split them into required amounts than purchase them in lower doses. This can save you money because often, a medicine with lower dose concentration would cost more than its higher counterpart. For instance, 50 tablets of 10 mg paracetamol may cost you a $100, whereas, 25 tablets of 20mg paracetamol may cost you only $70. All you have to do is split the tablets for your required dosages and tada, pennies saved!
- Income based estate
A gold mine for your tight budget, this is the best option for you if you own some extra real estate. You can choose to rent out or resale your real estate for some extra income.
If you are facing problems stretching your SSDI budget, you can consider consulting a disability attorney to help you file for other options such as SSI and Medicare.