A:

Disabled persons can receive payments through two programs: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income are administered by the Social Security Administration. Applications generally require a Social Security number, birth certificate, information on medical staff visited and work information (if applicable). Applications are reviewed to determine if the applicant qualifies.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits to disabled persons if they cannot currently work due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year. Family members of disabled workers may also be eligible to receive money. Applicants for SSDI must generally meet a minimum threshold of years worked. For example, a 44-year-old individual must have worked at least 5.5 years in order to pass the SSDI duration-of-work test. There are no income limitations. When individuals getting SSDI reach full retirement age, they transition to Social Security's old-age program and receive the same payments through the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund instead of the SSDI trust fund.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides benefits based on financial need and focuses on paying disabled or blind adults and children who have limited income, as well as certain adults over age 65. SSI is the largest federal program providing benefits to those with disabilities – and the only program that covers people who have never worked, or haven't worked enough hours, to qualify for SSDI. Funds for this program come from general tax revenue rather than from Social Security taxes and are disbursed each month to those who qualify. Your countable monthly income (there's a complicated formula for what counts as income) cannot exceed the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR), which was $733 per month in 2015. A few people who receive extremely low SSDI payments and have very little other income may qualify to receive both types of benefits.

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