The People's Guide

35th Edition 2013-2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 71

23 The People's Guide 2013-2014 Social Security, SSI & CAPI Social Security SOCIAL SECURITY Social Security covers both employees and the self-employed, if the worker has earned enough quarters of credit. A quarter is credited to your account for each $920 earned. You cannot earn more than 4 quarters in a year. The amount you get depends on how much money you have earned and how many years you worked in a job covered by Social Security. Covered workers pay for Social Security (FICA) by being taxed on the money they earn, and employers must match this amount. Social Security provides four main kinds of benefits: retirement, disability, survivor, and health (called Medicare). (see page 54 Medicare). There are no resource limits to these programs. Persons over 65 receiving retirement benefits, and persons who have received disability-based benefits (such as dis- ability, disabled widow, or disabled adult child) for 24 months also get Medicare benefits. Present law prevents Social Security benefits going to any non-citizen who is not "lawfully present" in the U.S. (see page 62 Guide for Non-Citizens). Social Security is a federal insurance program which provides benefits for eligible work- ers and their families regardless of income. SSI and CAPI are programs for disabled or seniors. To get full retirement benefits you must be at least 65 years old. (This will gradually increase to age 67 by the year 2022). To receive reduced benefits, you must be at least 62. Monthly payments are made to workers and their eligible dependents. You will receive a percentage of what you earned as a worker and what you contributed to Social Security. You can earn money and still get retire- ment benefits. Ask your Social Security office for more details. DISABILITY BENEFITS Monthly Social Security Disability Insur- ance (SSDI) payments are made to you and to eligible family members (such as a spouse, unmarried ex-spouse, child, or adult disabled child) if you are a covered employee who is unable to work because of severe, medically-certified illness or other disability that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or to end in death. Benefits are available to family members on the same terms as for Retirement benefits. You may also want to apply for SSI. SSDI does not require low family in- come, but SSI does. Also, SSDI provides Medicare eligibility, while SSI provides Medi-Cal. SSDI requires that the ap- plicant have a record of at least some wages earned during each of 20 quar- ters (three-month periods) of covered employment in the last 10 years before becoming disabled. SSI has no work history requirement. Because both SSI and SSDI can take several months from application to approval, while waiting you can also apply for "Medi-Cal Only" at the welfare office . It is important not to wait until your state disability benefits have run out before applying for federal disability benefits. If you have not yet received your SSI or SSDI and your state dis- ability benefits have run out, you should apply for General Relief (see pg. 27). SURVIVOR BENEFITS When a covered worker dies, monthly payments are made to eligible family: • A spouse over age 60 or disabled over age 50 or caring for the worker's child who is under 16 or disabled • The spouse above can be divorced from the worker only if the mar- riage lasted at least a decade • A disabled adult unmarried child • A parent of the worker over age 62 if at least 50% dependent on the worker. pays the same rate the child received in foster care, including specialized care rates and clothing allowances. The child did not have to receive any benefits to be eligible to receive Kin-GAP benefits. If DCFS recommends that you become the legal guardian, ask how this will affect the child's benefits. 3. Adoption Assistance The Adoption Assistance Program provides benefits to help families adopt children who are less likely to be adopted with- out this assistance, like sibling groups, children with disabilities, mixed ethnic backgrounds, or older children. The benefits can be up to the foster care amount, including higher "specialized rates". Benefits must be renegotiated at least every two years. You may also get help with the costs of the adoption pro- cess. The adoptive family becomes legally responsible for the child's support. 4. Long Term Foster Care If you are a relative and do not wish to adopt the child, or become the child's legal guardian, you cannot be required to do so, and DCFS should not threaten to remove the child from you if you choose not to adopt. The child's permanent plan can be long-term foster care with you, but you will need to pursue this with DCFS and the Dependency Court. 5. County Foster Care L.A. County also has its own foster care program, primarily for undocumented children who are dependents of the court. They may be placed with relatives.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The People's Guide - 35th Edition 2013-2014