Social Security Disability 101

Social Security is a variety of programs

When most people hear the phrase “Social Security,” they think of older workers who have retired or are about to retire. In fact, Social Security comprises a number of programs, only one of which is the Retirement Program. There are programs for disability, survivors, and dependent benefits. A person may obtain disability benefits via two separate programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI (also known as Title II) functions just like an insurance policy. SSI (or Title XVI) is a program paid for from the general fund for persons who are disabled, have few resources, and little or no other income.

SSDI is not a hand-out

You may be concerned about filing for disability benefits, because you may have heard that SSDI payments are a form of charity. You’ve worked hard to provide for yourself and your family. You’ve always paid your own way. SSDI is not charity. It is an insurance policy, not a hand out. SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance. Like any insurance plan, benefits are funded from premiums. For SSDI, premiums are paid from payroll deductions. You’ve paid for this insurance plan from your work. If you have a work history that meets the legal requirements, you are fully invested in this insurance policy. If you are disabled and not able to work, you can draw from SSDI just as you would from a private insurance policy.