I Can’t Live on My Social Security Alone

Question:

Dear Steve,

I am about to turn 69 years old on June 17th.

I am a disabled, retired Radiology Technologist who wound up on permanent disability on May 1, 2001, from a catastrophic illness that drained me of all my savings resulting in my living solely on Social Security when I turned 65.

There are a few instances where I “make” too much to qualify for, for instance, SNAP (or Food Stamps) and some others. I would qualify IF I was on Disability, but because of the shift to plain Social Security, I am disqualified, bringing in VERY SLIGHTLY, too much of the maximum allowance. I am single, living in a HUD-subsidized Senior Housing Apartment where I pay 30% of my net income (Social Security). That is a fixed number (until we get an increase) while EVERYTHING ELSE is going up in cost!

My thought and my question seem to be the same. IMHO, I should be handled the same way as I started on SSDI as I should with receiving SS only, Social Security.

Just because I am a few years older should not mean that I receive LESS money in benefits, and less other considerations, simply because of chronology.

QUESTION: DO YOU KNOW WHETHER THERE SHOULD BE A CHANGE IN MY AWARD SUM AND BENEFITS -PRE-AGE 65 AND POST-AGE 65? I AM BARELY GETTING BY EACH MONTH.

IN FACT, I think I have less coming in than I owe going out now that I am only on Social Security.

I need help but parts of the nature of my disability, now involve not being as sharp as I was, and my memory is more challenged now and worsening.

Second question: Social Security is a fixed numeral count, and in this pandemic, the overall increases, gas, utilities, food, and more are increasing every moment with no real end in sight. Is there some way to find parity in the rise in costs while SS stays at the same number?

LAST QUESTION: MAY I PLEASE BORROW $10,000 FROM YOU, STEVE. IT WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING! (EXCEPT HOW THE HELL DO I PAY YOU BACK?) LOL

Gregory

Answer:

Dear Gregory,

I’m going to take a wild guess and say you live in the state of New York. According to the New York state SNAP eligibility page, you would be able to receive SNAP benefits if your household income was $25,764 or less a year.

You are correct that when you begin to receive your Social Security payment you no longer received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. SSDI is actually the Social Security payment you would have received when you reached your full retirement age. Think of it more as early Social Security.

So when you reach full retirement age it switches from SSDI to regular Social Security.

I agree the concept is confusing for many. Same benefit, different name.

Expenses are rising fast and while you may be eligible for a future Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that does not help you now.

But what you can do is take another look at all the benefits you receive and find out if there have been changes or adjustments to the programs that could raise income or reduce expenses.

If income is limited and expenses are reduced to a reasonable amount, one option is to take a look at all other benefits you might be eligible for. The Benefits.gov website is a great place to start this search.

New York also has a benefits page to review.

New York has regional SNAP Outreach Providers that can help you through this process. In New York, you can click here to find the contact.

Talking to an Outreach Provider might be very helpful and help find some changes that can be made to help you get back under the limit.

Over two-thirds (70 percent) of SNAP households claim the shelter deduction, while about 30 percent of households (and more than half of households with children) claim the earnings deduction.

Here is one example of how that works. Shelter Deduction: Begin with the shelter costs of $993. Subtract half of Countable Income A (half of $751 is $376) for a result of $617. Because there is a shelter deduction cap of $597, the shelter deduction for this household is $597.

You can use this New York SNAP Benefits Estimator to check your eligibility.

Sincerely,

You are not alone. I’m here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don’t give up.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach