The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the
largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities.
While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the
Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet
medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.
Social Security Disability Insurance
pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning
that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
This program is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers,
and self-employed persons.
- The worker will get Medicare coverage automatically after receiving disability benefits
for two years.
- To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits
based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes.
- Disability benefits are payable to:
- blind or disabled workers
- their children
- adults disabled since childhood
- The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings
record of the insured worker.
Supplemental Security Income
pays benefits based on financial need.
This program is financed through general revenues from taxes, meaning benefits are
not based on your prior work history.
- In most states, beneficiaries will automatically be eligible for Medicaid.
- SSI disability benefits are payable to:
- individuals age 65 or older
- adults who are disabled or blind
- children who are disabled or blind
- Eligibility requirements:
- have limited income and resources meet the living arrangement requirements
- a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of aliens.
- The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be
supplemented by the state.