Types of Disability Benefits

Cash and medical benefits available for disabled individuals and their families from the Social Security Administration


Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) are monthly cash and medical benefits (Medicare) for disabled adults who have sufficient earnings over the last ten years.  You must have worked and paid federal income tax during in five of the last ten years to qualify for SSDIB.  The amount received is determined by your taxable earnings.  The medical qualifications for SSDIB and SSI are the same.

Although you can alleged a remote date for the onset of your disability you can be paid up to twelve months prior to the date you applied for benefits.

You must prove your disability within five years of stopping work.


Supplemental Security Income is a monthly cash payment and more limited medical benefits (Medicaid).  The monthly amount received is currently $794 for an individual, and $1,191 for a couple.  The amount changes with annual cost of living increases (latest increase 1.3 percent).  The monthly amount is also reduced by subtracting "countable income" by the individual and their spouse.  Countable income is anything received in a month that you can use to meet your needs for food in shelter, including cash or in kind.

Your benefits can begin to accrue the first month following the month you apply for SSI.


Children are entitled to SSI payments if they have a physical or mental condition that very seriously limits their activities that least at least one year or results in death.

To qualify for disability the child must have two "marked" limitations or one "extreme" limitation in the six domains of functioning: (1) Acquiring and using information, (2) Attending and completing tasks, (3) Interacting and relating with others, (4) Moving about and manipulating objects, (5) Caring for yourself, and (6) Health and physical well-being.


When you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family may qualify for benefits based on your work, including your:

  • Spouse.

  • Divorced spouse.

  • Children including dependent grandchildren.

  • Adult child disabled before age 22.

Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability benefit amount. 


Certain family members of the deceased disabled person may be eligible to receive monthly benefits if they are:

  • A widow or widower age 60 or older (age 50 or older if disabled).

  • A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances.  

  • A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving child’s benefits.

  • An unmarried child of the deceased who is younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school) or disabled before age 22.

  • A dependent stepchild, grandchild, step grandchild, or adopted child may be eligible.

  • A dependent parents, age 62 or older, who was dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support.

You must file an application no later than the end of the third month following the month in which the disabled person died. 


Social Security pays a one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 to the surviving spouse if they lived together or if they are receiving benefits on their spouse's record. 


If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on their parent's record.