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Mini Series on collecting Social Security-Part 4: What you need to know about Disability and Supplemental Security Income 

Source U.S. Social Security Administration 

Disability is a subject you may read about in the newspaper, but not think of as something that might actually happen to you. But your chances of becoming disabled are probably greater than you realize.

Studies show that just over one in four of today's 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.

While we spend a lot of time working to succeed in our jobs and careers, few of us think about ensuring that we have a safety net to fall back on should we become disabled. This is an area where Social Security can provide valuable help to you.

This disability planner helps you find out:

  • how you can qualify and apply for benefits;

  • what happens if your application is approved;

  • who can receive benefits on your earnings record;

  • what you need to know about receiving disability benefits;

  • when Medicare coverage starts for Social Security disability beneficiaries; and

  • what happens if you go back to work.

Disability and Supplemental Security Income

We pay disability benefits under two programs:

  • The Social Security disability insurance program pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. (Your adult child also may qualify for benefits on your earnings record if he or she has a disability that started before age 22.)

  • The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.

For most people, the medical requirements are the same under both programs and disability is determined by the same process.

Whether you apply for Social Security disability or SSI, we ask you for information about your medical condition, work, and education history to help us decide if you are disabled under our rules.

Additional information about SSI can be found at "What Is Supplemental Security Income?"

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