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What disability benefits does Social Security provide?

If you are like most people, you probably have never had to think about what you would do if you became disabled. What would you do if you suddenly could not work? How would you pay your rent or mortgage? How would you afford to see your doctor?

Social Security provides help if you ever find yourself in this situation. Generally, Social Security disability benefits provide two things:

  1. Monthly cash benefits – to help you pay for your expenses.
  2. Health insurance (Medicare or Medicaid) – to help you pay for your medical expenses.

Social Security has two similar disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Even though only SSDI has the word, “disability” in its title, both programs provide benefits if you become disabled.

  • Both SSDI and SSI provide monthly cash benefits. SSI benefits are limited to the Federal Benefit Rate ($733 per month for 2015), while SSDI can be higher and is based on the amount of your contribution to Social Security through payroll taxes. If you are curious about how much you might be entitled to if you became disabled, Social Security provides online calculators to help you estimate your benefits.
  • Both SSDI and SSI provide health insurance. SSDI recipients are eligible to receive Medicare while SSI recipients can receive Medicaid.

Keep in mind that there are differences between SSI and SSDI, and we have not touched on SSI’s financial eligibility requirements, or how Social Security evaluates cases. However, if your are considering applying for benefits this is a very quick overview of what you can get from Social Security if you are disabled.

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