Types of Disability Benefits

There are several kinds of disability benefits for which a person may be eligible. The medical rules are the same for each of these programs – you must be found disabled as defined by Social Security’s regulations. The non-medical requirements are different for each program.

The five main programs are:

  • Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Child’s Disability Benefits (CDB)
  • Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits (DWB)
  • Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income. SSI benefits are not based on your prior work or a family member’s prior work.

To get SSI, you must have limited income and resources. To be eligible for SSI, you must be found disabled under the same rules used for DIB, or be blind, or over age 65. You must also have very little household income or property to be financially eligible for SSI. Even if you are found to be disabled under Social Security’s regulations, if your household income exceeds a certain maximum level you will not qualify for SSI benefits. For a disabled person with little or no past work experience whose spouse is able to care for the family financially, this is a reminder that SSI benefits were created to afford minimal economic relief to disabled people who would not otherwise receive the necessary financial support they need.

Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)

You are only eligible for these benefits if you have paid a certain amount of Social Security tax over a period of time. Your prior work history will determine when DIB coverage starts and when it ends. Disability Insurance Benefits is, as the name implies, an insurance program. A worker has a certain percentage of his or her earnings taken out of each paycheck. These withholdings are pooled together with other workers’ earnings and used to “pay out” on disability claims. To get coverage, you must have worked at least twenty calendar quarters (five years) within the last forty calendar quarters (10 years) before your disability began. (There is a different rule for people whose disability began before age 30). To be entitled to DIB, you must prove that your disability began while disability insurance was in force. As for your benefits amount, the longer you have worked and the more you earned the larger the benefit amount you are entitled to if you become disabled. There are no household income restrictions on a DIB claim. So, even if your spouse is still working and financially able to support you, you are entitled to DIB benefits if you are disabled.

Child’s Disability Benefits (CDB)

Child’s Disability Benefits is a type of SSI program. It provides financial support to children age 17 or younger who are disabled. Social Security uses different rules for determining disability in a child’s claim than in an adult claim. To be found disabled, the child must have a physical or mental condition that causes marked and severe functional limitations. As with SSI claims, to be eligible for Child’s Disability Benefits the parents’ household income must not exceed a certain maximum level. Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, P.L.L.C. is one of only a few law firms in Minnesota that will handle Child’s Social Security Benefits claims.

Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)

Disabled Adult Child Benefits generally may be paid to a child age 18 or older who became disabled before age 22, and to a full-time elementary or secondary school student under age 19. If the parent is alive, he or she must be entitled to retirement or disability benefits. If deceased, the parent must have worked long enough under Social Security for survivor’s benefits to be paid.

A child age 18 or older may be entitled to Social Security benefits based on his or her disability when a parent who has worked long enough under the program is entitled to disability benefits or is deceased. The criteria used to evaluate the disability are the same as those used to evaluate disability in adults. The child must be unable to work because of a medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death. The child’s disability must have begun before age 22.

Social Security Disability