What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?

Helping You Understand Your Disability Benefits Options

The federal government has a number of disability benefit programs — generally grouped under Social Security disability (SSD) insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — for certain people who are unable to work full-time due to their disabilities.

At The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC, our attorneys help clients in Buffalo New York apply for disability benefits.

Below is some general information about the disability benefits that are available through the Social Security system. To discuss whether you are eligible for any benefit programs, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer.

If your disability prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration provides monthly benefits to people who meet strict criteria concerning work history and disability level. Because the application and appeals process can be complex, the assistance of an attorney can be enormously helpful. Contact an attorney from The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller in Amherst, New York, for more information.

Social Security

Social Security is the federal program that provides retirement, disability, survivor, family assistance and Medicare benefits. The program is funded by earmarked taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks, matching funds from employers and taxes from self-employed individuals. Social Security benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and governed by the Social Security Act.

The Social Security Act’s Definition of “Disability”

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, a person must be “disabled” according to the definition provided by the federal Social Security Act. A person is disabled if he or she:

  • Has a medical condition that is expected to last at least a year, has lasted at least a year or is expected to result in death, and
  • Is unable to work because of the medical condition

The person must not be able to the do work she did previously or any other type of substantial gainful activity that she is qualified to do.

Types of Disability Benefits under the Social Security Act

Five major types of disability benefits are available under the Social Security Act. Each one has its own rules for qualification, which can be complicated. Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide benefits. SSDI is based on the applicant’s work history and disability while SSI is based on the applicant’s income and disability, old age or blindness.

  • SSDI: Disability Insurance benefits are paid to people who have worked long enough to earn sufficient credits under the Social Security system but are now disabled.
  • SSDI: Disabled Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Divorced Spouse benefits are paid to people who meet certain age and other requirements. The deceased spouse must have been insured through his or her work record for the living spouse to qualify for coverage.
  • SSDI: Childhood Disability benefits are paid to people who are at least 18 years old and became disabled prior to the age of 22. The payment to the child is based on the earnings record of a qualified parent who is retired, disabled or deceased.
  • SSI: Supplemental Security Income benefits are paid to low-income recipients who are disabled, blind or elderly and have limited resources.
  • SSI: Child’s Disability benefits are paid to children up to age 18 who are disabled or blind and whose families meet certain criteria concerning income and resources.

Consult an Attorney

With this basic knowledge about the types of benefits that are available, you may be able to decide whether applying for Social Security Disability is the right decision for you. An attorney from The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller in Amherst, New York, can answer your Social Security Disability benefits questions and help you through the qualification process.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

Back to Main