Social Security Disability Program Description
The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two programs that provide benefits to disabled persons. One is Social Security disability insurance, from title II (two) of the Social Security Act (which we'll call the Act). The other is supplemental security income (SSI), title XVI (sixteen) of the Act.
Through Title II, disability benefits are paid to two groups of people:
- individuals who are "insured" under the Act because they have contributed to the Social Security trust fund (through the Social Security tax on their earnings)
- certain disabled dependents of insured individuals
Under Title XVI, SSI payments go to adults and children under age 18 who are disabled and have limited income and resources.
The Act and SSA's regulations have rules for deciding if an individual is "disabled." Note that SSA's criteria may be different than criteria used in other Government and private disability programs.