Types of Social Security Benefits Available to Disabled Individuals

There are several types of Social Security Benefits available to individuals deemed “disabled” under the Social Security Act. The most common are as follows:

Social Security Disability Benefits (RSDI or Title II Benefits)

These benefits are available to disabled workers under retirement age who have earned a minimum number of quarters of coverage from employment covered under the Social Security system. The required number of quarters varies depending on your age at the time you become disabled. Usually, the disabled worker must have paid into Social Security during five of the ten years immediately preceding the date you became disabled, however, a younger disabled worker may qualify for benefits with fewer quarters of coverage.

Not only will the disabled worker be entitled to benefits under RSDI, but children of the disabled worker who are under 18 will receive benefits. A child of a disabled worker who is over age 18 and who was disabled before age 22 may also receive benefits. A disabled workers’ spouse may also be entitled to benefits if the spouse is 62 or older, or if the spouse has in his/her care a child of the disabled worker who is under age 16 or disabled.

If the disabled worker is awarded RSDI benefits, he/she will also be entitled to receive Medicare. Medicare benefits may be received after 24 months of entitlement to RSDI benefits. Because there is a 5 month waiting period from the date of onset of disability to entitlement, a disabled worker who has been awarded RSDI benefits will usually have to wait 29 months from the date of onset to become eligible to receive Medicare benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI or Tile XVI Benefits)

SSI is available to disabled individuals who do not meet the required number of quarters entitling them to RSDI benefits. SSI is a monthly supplemental income payment for disabled individuals with limited financial resources. Currently, these resources must be below $2,000.00 for an individual and $3,000.00 for a married couple, and these financial resources do not include your home, land, personal effects, motor vehicle, or insurance policies. If an applicant qualifies for SSI they will also be entitled to Medicaid upon entitlement to SSI. Benefits are not retroactive and will only go back to the date of the application for these benefits.

SSI benefits may also be available to children under the age of 18 who qualify as “disabled”.

Disabled Adult Children (DAC)

A disabled adult child may be eligible to receive RSDI benefits if the insured parent is entitled to old age or disability benefits, or is deceased, the DAC’s disability began before age 22, and the DAC is unmarried or married to another person receiving Social Security benefits.

Disabled Widow/Widower’s and Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits

These benefits are based on the deceased spouse/divorced spouse earning record. If you are a surviving divorced spouse, to receive these benefits the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years, you have to be between the ages of 50-60, and you have to have become disabled within 7 years after the insured worker died. If the widow/widower is 60 or older, there is no requirement of disability.