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If you are disabled, you may be eligible to collect benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program or under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, or under both programs.  An attorney can best advise you which program you are most likely eligible for, and will work with you to obtain your benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The SSDI program is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. The Social Security Administration pays monthly benefits to disabled individuals who have paid into the Social Security system.
  • 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
    • widow(er)s
    • 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 benefits (SSI)

The SSI program is financed through general revenues from taxes, meaning benefits are not based on your prior work history.  Benefits are paid to individuals who are low income individuals/families and disabled whether or not the individual has worked in the past. 
  • In most states, beneficiaries will automatically be eligible for Medicaid.
  • SSI 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 to 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.


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