disability benefits

Disability benefits refers to money available from the government for disabled persons.  These benefits are available under Title II of the Social Security Act as Social Security, and under Title XVI as Supplemental Security Income.  Additionally, several states have enacted statutory disability programs, known as disability insurance.

Social Security Disability (42 USC §401 et seq) 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.

Supplemental Security Income (42 USC §1381 et seq) is based on financial need.  This is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes).  It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income.  This provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.

These share a common definition of disabled:  "The inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months".   Social Security 42 USC §423(d)(1)(A), Supplemental Security Income 42 USC §1382c(3)(A).


Federal Disability Benefits:  http://www.ssa.gov/disability/

Information on Social Security Disability:  http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10029.html

Information on Supplemental Security Income:  http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/