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Are Social Security Disability Benefits Enough to Live On?

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    Are you currently receiving Social Security Disability benefits? If so, this thread is for you.

    I have always wondered if disability benefits are enough to support someone who is receiving them or if you need further assistance to help you get by. This is especially so for individuals who live alone and don't have a secondary income helping you take care of bills and other expenditures.

    So if anyone is currently receiving SSDI and wants to share your story then we would like to hear it. Do you find yourself able to live comfortably or is it a struggle for you to get by?
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    I've only been in the workforce for 12 years of my life, at 28. So I won't pretend to have experience of living off of SS benefits after retirement. But I did look up out of curiosity how much the average SS monthly payout is. For retired workers, as of Social Security's website cites from December 2013's Beneficiary Data, the average person received $1,294 a month in benefits.

    For disabled workers, it's a little less at $1,146 per month.

    I bring up my age to reference a point.. since I was 17 I have paid all of my bills by myself. And I have always lived within my means and been responsible with not taking on too many bills, outside of necessity. For the last decade, I have lived in several different cities and states, but have routinely found that my monthly income need always hovers around the same every month, give or take a few hundred. That number is roughly $1400-1700 per month. That covers all monthly recurring bills, food, gas and all other misc., usually on average at least. Some months are better, others are much more costly.

    So to imagine being unable to work, or retired from a long life of working, and trying to survive on $1150-$1300 a month, that sounds like quite a struggle indeed. I suppose that if you were capable or lucky enough to have fully paid off housing and auto concerns by that point, this would make it a much more doable situation. Then I could see it. Still, it would be tight, and hard to imagine that check doing anything beyond just getting by, from month to month.
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    Great points. I agree that it would be very difficult to survive on just over $1,000 a month, especially now that the majority of Americans no longer are going to be receiving a pension from their employer when they retire. Living on $1,000 a month with no other income from a retirement fund or pension has to be exceptionally difficult.
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    HI my name Gabrielle and im on ssdi, and i live on $807.00 a month and theres times that i wonder how im gonna pay bills and get things that i need. I pay my grandmother $450.00 a month for rent and utilites . Then the rest i have to litterally see what i can pay and what will have to wait and then get maintenance n car done and then dog grooming for my service dog and and then his training classes and medical supplies and food and then my meds and hygene stuff that i need. so yeah if think that 1000 and some thing is hard try 807.00 that even harder.
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    gabster76 Wrote: HI my name Gabrielle and im on ssdi, and i live on $807.00 a month and theres times that i wonder how im gonna pay bills and get things that i need. I pay my grandmother $450.00 a month for rent and utilites . Then the rest i have to litterally see what i can pay and what will have to wait and then get maintenance n car done and then dog grooming for my service dog and and then his training classes and medical supplies and food and then my meds and hygene stuff that i need. so yeah if think that 1000 and some thing is hard try 807.00 that even harder.
    Thanks for sharing your story Gabrielle. I'm sorry to hear how difficult things are for you right now. I think that most people would agree that $807 a month would be extremely difficult to live on. And I also think that there are a lot of other individuals in this country who read your story and took comfort in knowing that they aren't alone.

    What, if anything, can we do about this? I think we have to find a way to ensure our citizens who are on SSDI have enough money to pay their bills and keep food on their tables. I can't say that I have the answer to this problem, but I would love to hear what others who are living on SSDI would have to say about it.
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    NO they are not enough to live on. I live in Charlotte, NC. I have been receiving SSD benefits because I have kidney failure and I am on Hemodialysis. I receive about $980, monthly. Right away I need to pay my monthly rent of $550, to the apartment complex. After I pay my other household bills, cell phone bill (I do not have a landline), put gas in my car and car insurance I am left with about $50. Last month, I had to pay $850, for rent because the apartment complex after three years decided to charge me $250, plus late fees for my fur baby. This month, my car registration is due that entails me paying an average of $50, for inspection. Then my taxes and registration are $90 combined. When I took my car to get inspected it failed because the rack and pinion are leaking. That will cost $1000, to be fixed. I am having to juggle around what bills I can pass on or pay portions of to take care of other necessities. More resources for low-income apartments for the disabled are needed. More life assistance is needed. I worry and stress everyday about becoming homeless. All I want is to be able to go to my Hemodialysis treatments and take care of my basic life necessities.
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    Sorry to hear about your struggles, VIGuava. What do you think should be done about this? I've always been a firm proponent of raising the maximum amount of taxable income that goes into the Social Security Trust Fund. There is no reason a billionaire should only have to pay Social Security taxes on the first $118,500 they make each year. If we just raised the cap to $250,000 then the fund would be much more solvent and we would be able to give retirees who depend on Social Security a much needed raise.
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    I don't think they are nearly enough to live on, especially after big businesses have moved away from the pension and either offer a 401k or nothing at all. People are becoming more and more reliant on their Social Security benefits as their only source of income and that is not a good thing.
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    joe_h419 Wrote: I don't think they are nearly enough to live on, especially after big businesses have moved away from the pension and either offer a 401k or nothing at all. People are becoming more and more reliant on their Social Security benefits as their only source of income and that is not a good thing.
    That's a great point. Millions of Americans are now almost wholly reliant on their Social Security benefits as their only source of income in their retirement years. I can only imagine that is going to become more and more of the norm unless we step up our game and do something about it.
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    FYI the median household income globally is $9,733 (that's $811/month for a whole family). That means half the world is living on a lot less than any SS disability payment mentioned here.
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    The key to living on less is cheap housing. There are plenty of $10,000 homes in America, with a 30 year mortgage that's going to cost less than $100/month. If its about survival, I'd move to the cheap housing. Most people with super low income are eligible for food stamps (a record number 23 million households in the United States are now on food stamps!) so food is taken care of. Nice LED TVs cost next to nothing these days and digital TV service is free with an antenna so entertainment is taken care of. If you can't afford a car I assume you are smart enough to move where public transportation is available, it is usually subsidized for the poor. So all that's left are utilities and medical expenses. If you switch to a plant based whole food diet you will be much healthier and have much lower medical costs. See: m.mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/Im...f
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    Tradergordo Wrote: The key to living on less is cheap housing. There are plenty of $10,000 homes in America, with a 30 year mortgage that's going to cost less than $100/month. If its about survival, I'd move to the cheap housing.

    That just isn't a possibility for many people.

    If every senior on Social Security moved to the places in America where you can buy a $10,000 house (which, by the way, I'm not sure there are many) then that $10,000 house will soon cost $20,000 and then $30,000. It's called supply and demand.

    The reason there are $10,000 houses in America (which, again, I am not sure there are many of) is because they are located in places that people don't want to live. They are also likely far away from a grocery store, medical care, and anything else people, especially seniors, rely upon to survive.

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    I am also sorry to hear that you are having to live on only $807/month, as well as the medical difficulties. I am only in my 50's, but I have been ill for the past 3 1/2 years with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) and severe Allergies. Having this has pretty much confined me to my home and I can not work out in public due to chemical smells such as perfume, paint, dust, cleaning chemicals, any construction type work, and the list goes on, and on.

    For those of you that want to work, and are able to work, there are legitimate "work-from-home" companies. I have been doing this type of work for the past 3 years, and it has been a God send as far as gaining an income! All it requires, is high speed internet (which if you are on the computer right now and typing these posts, you probably already have it), a separate phone line to be used for work (my phone company dropped a line for $75, and it is a basic/no frills line, so it only costs about $30/month for the phone line. Some companies use USB headsets, so you don't have to have a separate phone line to take incoming calls!). The companies pay anywhere from $8/hour - $10/hour and they also pay you for training. Customer Service is what I do however there are a ton of different categories for work-at-home jobs. You could EARN an extra INCOME, and it would still meet the requirement of the $15,000/year extra income on top of the SSI payments, so you wouldn't be taxed on that unless you made more than they allow.

    Just wanted to throw this in here, as a way to gain an extra income, working from the comfort of your own home. If you enjoy talking on the phone, helping people, and sitting down while you do it, then this would be perfect for you.

    Here is a website of legitimate jobs working from home. I have been using this site for the past 3 years. (And no, I am not affiliated with any of these companies and am not advertising for them!) I simply found a solution to gaining an extra income from home, which has allowed me to be self sufficient, for which I am extremely grateful considering the health situation I am in. It makes me feel good that I will be able to continue to work from home when I begin to draw my Social Security, knowing I won't be "limited" to only the SSI each month.

    Here is the website for legitimate work-from-home jobs. www.ratracerebellion.com

    Good luck, and God Bless......

    Angela
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    Unfortunately I was taken out of work in 2010 for a genetic lung disease. No I never smoked. I do have social security disablity and it sucks....Try living off $722 a month...Trying to find a place to live is even a bigger joke...I have actually been told that I don't make enough for a specific low income housing....WHAT how can you say I don't make enough....I didn't put a limit on what I make and your a gov agency to help people and they tell me there lowest rent is $850....I am 61 yrs young and the only places I can qualify are so called nursing homes, elderly care, 55 or older....I'm not ready to be put in a home but this is what the gov has for me....Of course there is a waiting list of up to 2 years and most of the waiting lists are closed (which means they won't take your application).....I'm forced to live with friends or family or live on the streets......No this is not the plan I had for mself. I can still do my daily chores when I am able, I have me setbacks but hey I'm alive and kicking....I also receive $162 in food stamps, okay that is suppose to feed me nutrious meals for the month..No I rely on frozen dinners or canned.....Well that 's how it is for me.....Stinks
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    I have been on SSDI since i was 23, following a serious back injury while working for a landscaping company. No it wasnt precisely work related, my boss and i were struck head on by a drunk driver.

    I was quite shocked at the amount i was to receive for my SSDI payments, 976 before my medicare premium came out, only 852 after, considering that according to the equation given to me, i should have been getting around 1,100, i learned that for every year before retirement age, they deduct a percentage of your total payment. I barely got by when i was making 1k every two weeks, due to my state have high property taxes, high sales taxes, and a ridiculous income tax. (i was losing about 25% of my wage to federal and state taxes, without counting SS, and Medicare taxes that were also coming out)

    I have been forced to move back in with my parents. Even so, my income is not enough to afford my medicare copays. I have to pay $55 for a 30 day supply of medication, if its generic. And several of my meds dont have generics, so i have to try and come up with 78 a bottle, for 30 days. I actually have to borrow money pretty consistently from my family, and recently had to forgo my medications.

    If you have ever had a crushed disk, and a torn dorsal muscle, you will know what going without pain management is like.

    The saddest part is, even thought i make less than 12k a year on SSDI, i still make too much for state assistance, because they count household income, not individual, even though my mother works for minimum wage (very few job options in the area, and not enough money to move) and my stepfather is 'too disabled to work, not disabled enough for benefits'.

    I applied for food stamps, and qualified for $3 a month. Yes. $3. Not a Typo. I make too much to receive assistance, but not enough to get into any of the low income loan/housing programs, as the minimum annual income required by these programs is 15k and up.

    I recently sold my truck, a 68 chevy pick up i inherited from my grandfather, for less than half its value, because i needed to pay for my dog's hip surgery. No my dog is not optional, she has served me faithfully for 9 years, the last 4 of them as a physical assistance dog, I'm not dumping her off at some shelter that will kill her for being old. (the shelter told me flat out her age makes her completely unadoptable, but i love her too much to rehome her anyway)

    I recently applied for a home improvement loan targeted towards people on SSDI and other such programs, and was told i made too little to qualify. I currently live in an attic with exposed insulation because its the only viable space. It only needs about 500 in materials to become a fully livable space. Some plastic sheeting, and some rough cut lumber, and ive got a nice little 'loft'.

    But i rarely have more than a dollar left in my checking account once my bills are paid. Since i have to see a specialist for my back every 4-6 weeks, and it costs me 150 out of pocket every appointment.

    You cannot live on SSDI without sacrificing quality of life.

    And i have tried to get work, my back is at 80% of what it used to be. But employers see that my health records include a major surgery on my back, and suddenly im no longer a qualified candidate.

    I went to college for a degree in Landscape Design and one in Business Management. My degrees are useless because my back is a massive liability for any prospective employer.

    But you know im not bitter or anything, i mean im fine living on my 11k a year, even if congress says no one can live comfortably on less than 150k a year.