Social Security Disability Benefits

While no one ever wants to think about becoming disabled, the probability of it happening to you is higher than you may think. According to the SocialSecurity.gov website, studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 30 percent chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age. The Federal Government pays disability benefits through both the disability insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Social Security Disability Insurance Program

The disability insurance program pays benefits to people who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. The program does not give benefits for partial or short-term disability. Certain family members of disabled workers also can receive benefits from the program.

To get more information about the social security disability insurance program, visit Social Security website or call (800) 772-1213.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program

The Social Security Administration manages the SSI program, which makes payments to people who fall into one of three categories; people who are low income and are 65 year of age or older; are blind; or, have a disability.

The SSI depends on your income and resources. The SSI program considers income to be money you receive such as wages, Social Security benefits and pensions. Income also includes such things as food and shelter. If you are married, the program also includes part of your spouse’s income and resources when deciding whether you qualify for SSI. If you are younger than age 18, it could also include part of your parents’ income and resources. And, if you are a sponsored noncitizen, it may include your sponsor’s income and resources in determining your eligibility. Resources considered when determining benefits include real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds.

To get supplemental security income, you must live in the U.S. or the Northern Mariana Islands and be a U.S. citizen or national. In some cases, noncitizen residents can qualify for supplemental security income (SSI).

To get more information about the SSI program, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11000.html or call (800)- 772-1213. You can also apply for benefits online at www.socialsecurity.gov.