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FAQs Library >> Government

What government benefits are available to people with disabilities?

The two types of government benefits available to people with disabilities from the Social Security Administration are SSI (supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).

Supplemental Security Income provides monthly payments to persons with disabilities that meet Social Security requirements. Some SSI facts to remember:

  • SSI payments are made to persons who are blind or have disabilities and have limited income and resources.
  • Persons who receive payments must meet living arrangement requirements.
  • Individuals who receive payments are able to get payments according to Social Security rules and policies.
  • Social Security will review your disability from time to time to make sure you meet requirements of the SSI program.
  • Paid for with U.S. Treasury money.

Social Security Disability Insurance also provides monthly payments to eligible persons with disabilities. Some SSDI facts to remember:

  • SSDI is financed with taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons.
  • Workers earn a certain number of credits based on taxable work to be able to get SSDI payments according to Social Security.
  • The amount of monthly disability benefits is based on the worker's Social Security earnings record.

The SSDI program pays benefits to adults who have a disability that began before they became 22 years old. Social Security considers this SSDI benefit as a "child's" benefit because it is paid on a parent's Social Security earnings record. For a disabled adult to become entitled to this "child" benefit, one of his or her parents (1) must be receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits or (2) must have died and have worked long enough under Social Security. These benefits are also payable to an adult who received dependents benefits on a parent's Social Security earnings record prior to age 18, if he or she is disabled at age 18. Social Security makes the disability decision using the disability rules for adults. SSDI disabled adult "child" benefits continue as long as the individual remains disabled. The child does not need to have worked to get these benefits.

How Social Security decides if one can receive SSDI benefits?

If you are age 18 or older, Social Security will evaluate your disability the same way they would evaluate the disability for any adult. Social Security sends the application to the Disability Determination Services in DC to complete the application.

Can I work while receiving SSI?

Yes. However, if you do so, there are a few items listed on the SSA website that you must be aware of:

  • SSI payments are made to people age 65 who are blind or disabled and have little income or resources. If you are disabled and work despite your disability, you may continue to receive payments until your earnings, added with any other income, exceed the SSI income limits. This limit is different in every state. Even if your SSI payments stop, your Medicaid coverage usually will continue if your earnings are less than your state level.
  • Expedited reinstatement—If SSA stopped your payments because of your earnings and you become unable to work again because of your medical condition, you may ask them to start your payments again. You will not have to file a new disability application if you make this request within five years after the month your benefits stopped.

What is the SSI appeal process?

If Social Security makes a decision about your SSI payments that you do not agree with, you can appeal or ask Social Security to look at their decision again. When you ask for an appeal, Social Security will look at the entire decision, even those parts that were in your favor. If their decision was wrong, Social Security will change it.

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