If you have become disabled and cannot earn a living because of physical or mental limitations, the United States government provides income protection through two benefit programs managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) are two options available for disabled workers to provide monetary benefits to those who qualify. Review the brief program summaries below to get an idea of which program you might qualify for. In some cases, disabled citizens may be able to receive benefits from both programs.

About SSD

Benefits are available to certain individuals who meet the Social Security Disability Insurance guidelines for eligibility. Applicants who request benefits for SSD must be able to prove that their condition meets the SSA’s list of disabilities in the category of disease, injury, or mental/neural disorders.

In addition to proving you are permanently disabled and unable to earn a living, you must demonstrate that you have met the work history requirements as mandated by the SSA. Basically, the Administration wants to make sure you have paid Social Security taxes long enough to deserve regular benefit payouts. Your work history is also important because your benefit amount will be based upon your earning history (i.e., how much total was paid into Social Security). In cases where disability happens at a young age and work history is insufficient, injured workers may alternatively apply for the SSI program.

About SSI

SSI grants certain disabled workers monthly benefits based on the individual’s situation. These benefits are usually available to people with no work history or insufficient work history for SSD. SSD is primarily based on a measure of work history using “work credits,” whereas SSI is granted based on financial need. An applicant’s benefit amount depends on their current income and assets — applicants who earn less will most likely be entitled to higher monthly payments.

For more in-depth information regarding the federal benefits programs known as SSD and SSI, please contact a lawyer near you.