The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for two major programs that provide benefits based on disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on prior work under Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Under SSI, payments are made on the basis of financial need.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed people. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits (also called quarters) based on taxable work to be “insured” for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to blind or disabled workers, widow(er)s, or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker. SSDI recipients or beneficiaries commonly receive Medicare.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
A program financed through general revenues. SSI disability benefits are payable to adults or children who are disabled or blind, have limited income and resources, meet the living arrangement requirements, or are otherwise eligible. The monthly payment varies up to the maximum federal benefit rate, which may be supplemented by the State or decreased by countable income and resources. SSI beneficiaries commonly receive Medicaid. Effective January 1, 2015, the federal benefit rate is $733 for individuals. Since SSI is a poverty program, if you have too many resources or too much income you are not eligible. (See example: http://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-resources-ussi.htm).
For more information, on SSDI and SSI benefits, visit the following pages:
Still have questions or need help applying? We have an experienced Social Security Disability team made up of former Disability Examiners and a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability.