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Social Security Disability Benefit Program
 
The federal Social Security Disability Benefit Program is the most important sources of income and medical coverage for older Americans with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities. By federal statute, this Social Security Disability Benefit Program is available only to individuals who meet and continue to meet a Social Security definition of disability. This definition can be confusing to families and other advocates because it is very different from a medical definition of disability or a disability status that is typically identified with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

SSA administers two separate and distinct federal income support programs for people with disabilities: an entitlement program called Social Security Disability Benefit Program; and an income support program Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security Disability Benefit Program also includes disability benefits for dependents called Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC). Both programs include medical coverage. Social Security Disability Benefit Program provides Medicare eligibility after two years. SSI includes eligibility for a state administered medical support program called Medicaid in most states. Although there are significant differences in the purposes and eligibility requirements for Social Security Disability Benefit Program and Supplemental Security Income, both are Social Security Disability Benefit Program require an applicant for benefits meet a statutory definition of disability.

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI? Both programs are administered by the Social Security Administration. For most people, the medical requirements are the same and the person's disability is determined by the same process. The major difference is that SSI disability program decisions are also made on the basis of financial need.

Social Security Disability Benefit Program is a program financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers and self-employed persons. Disability benefits are payable to disabled workers, disabled widow(er)'s or adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible. Auxiliary benefits may be payable to a worker's dependents, as well. The monthly Social Security Disability Benefit Program payment is based on the Social Security earnings of the insured worker on whose Social Security number the disability claim is filed. When you become entitled to twenty-four (24) months of SSDI you are entitled to Medicare at a nominal cost.

The Social Security Disability Benefit Program does not provide support for short periods of impairment. SSA says a person must have an impairment that is so severe that it has or is expected to keep him or her from doing substantial work for at least one year or is expected to result in death. SSA assumes that most people have access to other resources to provide for periods of disability of less than a year such as worker's compensation, employer-provided health insurance, savings, and investments. 
 

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