Social Security Disability Benefits: An Overview

The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under two programs:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
SSDI provides disability benefits to blind or disabled individuals who are insured based on federal insurance contributions (FICA) paid into the Social Security Trust Fund. Certain family members can also receive benefits based on a worker's contributions.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI provides benefits to individuals who are disabled, blind or elderly, with limited income and resources, including children under age 18, who are disabled, blind or elderly.

The medical requirements that determine who is eligible for disability payments are the same under both programs. Under the Social Security system, disability payments are based on inability to work. Individuals are considered "disabled" if they are unable to do any kind of work and their disabilities are expected to last for at least twelve months or result in death.

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