Understanding Disability Benefits

by Catherine Rein
(last updated August 23, 2013)

My nephew became disabled after a car accident and now qualifies for Social Security disability benefits. Nobody wants to think about the possibility of becoming disabled, but studies show that a 25-year-old worker has a 24% chance of experiencing a disability prior to age 65 which lasts three months or longer. If you become disabled there are several private and government programs available to provide income. Here is some additional information on three of the most common government disability programs:

  • Social Security Disability. If you've held a job and earned income, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. To see if you qualify, go to the www.socialsecurity.gov website. This website gives more information on Social Security benefits and how to apply online. Social Security has a strict definition of disability. You must be unable to do any substantial work because of your medical condition and your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, a least one year, or be expected to result in your death. When you apply for Social Security Disability, there are several pieces of information needed, you should review the social security website to make sure all documents are ready before applying. A complete medical record will be required including the records from all the doctors and hospitals that took care of you.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a monthly payment that is paid to persons with low income, few resources and either older than 65, blind or disabled. These benefits are in addition to other benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid. This program is funded by general tax revenues instead of Social Security taxes and is intended to provide cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.
  • Military Disability Benefits. Military personnel with a service-related disability may qualify for over $3,100 in monthly benefits. It is given to those veterans who have become disabled due to injuries that happened during active duty, were made worse by active duty or happened due to Veterans Administration health care. Disability compensation is available for veterans discharged under honorable conditions. Additional compensation is given for disabled veterans with severe disabilities and disabled veterans with a spouse, children or dependent parents.

In addition to the government programs discussed here, there are also private disability insurance programs available either through employers or by applying as an individual.

Author Bio

Catherine Rein

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