Social Security administers two programs for people who have become disabled and need monthly benefit payments to make up for their inability to work and earn a living.


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a program designed for people who have worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system prior to becoming disabled. If an individual is judged disabled, the individual will receive SSDI benefits regardless of the individual?s assets or family income. In order to qualify for benefits the applicant must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. The worker's impairment or impairment's must be the primary reason for his or her inability to engage in substantial gainful activity, although age, education, and work experience are also taken into consideration in determining the worker's ability to do work other than previous work. It is immaterial whether such work exists in the immediate area, or whether a specific job vacancy exists, or whether the worker would be hired if he or she applied for work.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a needs-based program. SSI is designed to pay benefits to disabled people who need help with basic living costs, even if they haven?t worked or paid taxes into the Social Security system. To qualify for SSI payments, a claimant cannot have family assets or income over a certain limit. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program which is designed to supplement the income of aged, blind and disabled people who have little or no income. It also provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Contrary to popular belief SSI is funded by general tax revenues, not Social Security Taxes.

SSI benefits are not based on your prior work or a family member's prior work. Its benefits are based on need rather than the amount paid into the program or the number of quarters worked. To qualify for SSI, your monthly income must not exceed the federal benefit rate (FBR), which is set by law. There are also limitations on the amount of resources or assets in your possession. In order to qualify applicants must be a citizen or certified national who live in the country.

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