Social Security’s Disability Benefit Programs

There are two main Social Security programs designed to provide financial assistance to qualified individuals who suffer permanent disability before their retirement age: the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

SSI benefits are given to those with disabilities, and whose income or resources do not exceed the federal benefit rate (FBR) that is mandated by the government. Resource may either be liquid or non-liquid assets. Liquid resources include cash, bonds, savings account, checking account, certain types of insurance policies, promissory notes, mutual funds and all other types of assets that are convertible to cash. Non-liquid assets, on the other hand, refer to real properties and personal properties, such as land and cars, respectively.  Some forms of personal assets, however, like engagement rings, wedding rings, and a house, are considered exempt by the SS Administration. The FBR amounts for both individuals and couples also vary for income and resources.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit is made available to qualified individuals, who are considered insured workers and whose ages are either 65 or below. To be considered qualified, a person should:

  • Have earned the amount of work credits required by the SSA (credits are earned through payment of SS taxes. These taxes are deducted from an employee’s monthly pay
  • Have a disability that is either listed in the list of severe medical conditions made by the SS administration or is so serious that it renders the applicant not capable of performing his/her work or any other work, and can last for a year or more, or even result in death

The disability benefit offered by Social Security is for those suffering from permanent disability. Those who sustain partial or short-term disability can avail of the benefits offered by their insurance provider. There is also the workers’ compensation insurance benefit that individuals may apply for, if their injury has been sustained during work.

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