Explore the disability benefits offered by the Federal government


The government has several federal programs to offer aid and assistance to people with various medical conditions. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is chiefly responsible for implementing and maintaining these policies. For disability, in particular, the benefits are paid under two separate programs, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

What is the definition of disability?
The SSA classifies disability into three primary categories for applicants to be eligible for the benefit, severe, long term, and total disability.

  • Severe disability interferes with one’s daily work-related activities
  • Long-term disability implies that the condition has lasted at least a year or more
  • Total disability implies that the applicant is completely unable to perform any activity that the administration deems a substantial gainful activity

Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income
The aid is available for people who have regularly paid their Social Security taxes over the tenure of their service record. Social Security Disability Insurance is a benefit made available for people who have suffered from a disability before the age of 22 but continued to work and paid taxes promptly. On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income is for adults and children who have limited income resources.

Concept of work credits
The SSA requires applicants to have work credits to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. For example, 28 work credits are required by the time the applicant turns 50. This is equivalent to having worked for a minimum of seven years, five of which must be within the last 10 years of one’s professional tenure.

When to apply for SSDI benefits?
The SSA recommends applicants to seek benefits and apply online immediately after suffering from a disability. It provides all relevant information in SSDI starter kits available for applicants who must prepare for the interview post online verification. There is no surety of exactly when one’s application will be reviewed and approved as it is a lengthy process. Once the administration approves the benefits for applicants, they must wait for six months before the benefit checks start rolling in. The administration may also approve disability Back Pay to compensate for the waiting period.

Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare
Applicants who already have Medicare and apply for SSDI or already receive income from the administration under the SSI scheme don’t have to pay for coverage. This kind of coverage qualifies under special health care needs.

Denial of disability benefits
Most of the initial applications that come under SSA scrutiny may be denied the benefits. In such cases, the applicants can request an official review of the denial within 60 days of the receipt of the denial letter.

Benefits for family members
Only the following members of the applicant’s family can receive the disability benefits, that too under the special circumstances mentioned as follows:

  • Spouse who is at least 62 years of age
  • Spouse with a child under the age of 16 or disabled
  • Unmarried children (including adopted and dependent step children) under the age of 18 (19 years if the child is a full-time sudent at a high school)
  • An unmarried child suffering from a disability (defined according to the SSA) before turning 22