Back to Disability Determination Division
Social Security Disability Benefits: An Overview
The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under two programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI provides disability benefits to blind or disabled individuals who are
insured based on federal insurance contributions (FICA) paid into the Social
Security Trust Fund. Certain family members can also receive benefits based on a
worker's contributions. SSI provides benefits to individuals who are disabled,
blind or elderly, with limited
income and resources, including children under age 18, who are disabled, blind
The medical requirements that determine who is eligible for disability payments are the same under both programs. Under the Social Security system, disability payments are based on inability to work. The individuals are considered "disabled" if they are unable to do any kind of work and their disabilities are expected to last for at least a year or to result in death.