Social Security Disability Basics

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Social Security administers two programs for people who have become disabled and need monthly benefit payments to make up for their inability to work and earn a living.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a program designed for people who have worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for years prior to becoming disabled. If an individual is judged disabled, the individual will receive SSDI benefits regardless of the individual's assets or family income.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI, unlike SSDI, is a "needs-based" program. SSI is designed to pay benefits to disabled people who need help with basic living costs, even if they haven't worked or paid taxes into the Social Security system. To qualify for SSI payments, a claimant cannot have family assets or income over a certain limit.

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