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Federal Benefit Rate

The Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) is the maximum dollar amount paid to an aged, blind, or disabled person who receives Social Security Disability benefits under SSI. Also called the Federal Payment Standard or the SSI Standard Benefit Amount, the Federal Benefit Rate is linked to the consumer price index. If the consumer price index increases, so does the Federal Benefit Rate. If there is no increase in the consumer price index, then no cost of living adjustment is made to the Federal Benefit Rate. There was a 3.6% cost of living adjustment for 2012. Cost of living adjustments take effect on January 1st each year and affect the Federal Benefit Rate received by individuals and by couples. The Federal Benefit Rate is also affected by living arrangements.

The Federal Benefit Rate for 2010 provides for a maximum Social Security Disability payment under SSI of $674 for an eligible individual and $1,011 per month for an eligible married couple. Living arrangements that affect Social Security Disability benefits under SSI include 1) a single individual living in his or her own household, 2) a disabled child living with his or her parents in their household, 3) a married individual and his or her ineligible spouse living in their own household, 4) a married couple, both of whom are eligible for benefits, and 5) all these arrangements, if the people concerned live in someone else’s home. The amounts are higher for those who are blind. Some states supplement the Federal Benefit Rate.

The dollar amounts mentioned above are the maximum Social Security Disability payments available under SSI. This amount is reduced by your countable income. Two common exceptions to the resource limit are a home and a car. In addition, some expenses, such as work related disability expenses, are deducted from income. There is no waiting period to received Social Security Disability benefits under SSI if you meet the eligibility requirements. Broadly, these requirements state that you must:

  • Have few or no resources or income
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen who meets additional requirements
  • Be medically disabled
  • Be a resident of one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands
  • File for all other benefits for which you are eligible (receipt of these benefits will reduce your benefits under SSI)
  • Not be working or not be engaged in substantial gainful activity