How many different types of disability benefits are there?

There are at least five separate types of Social Security disability benefits:

  • Disability Insurance Benefits is the most common and important type of Social Security disability benefits. It goes to disabled individuals who have worked long enough in recent years (five out of the last 10 years in most cases), and paid sufficient Social Security taxes to qualify.
  • Disabled Widow’s and Disabled Widower’s Benefits are paid to individuals who are at least 50 and become disabled within seven years after the death of their husband or wife. The deceased husband or wife must have worked long enough and earned enough credits under Social Security to be “insured”.
  • Disabled Adult Child Benefits are available to disabled adult children of persons who are deceased or who are currently drawing Social Security disability or retirement benefits. The adult child have become disabled before the age 22.
  • Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits are payable to individuals who are poor and who are disabled. It does not matter whether an individual has worked in the past or not in order to qualify for SSI.
  • SSI child’s disability benefits are SSI benefits paid to children under the age of 18 who are disabled. The way in which disability is determined is a different for children than it is for adults.

For Disability Insurance Benefits, Disabled Widow’s Benefits or Disabled Widower’s Benefits and Disabled Adult Child benefits, it does not matter whether the disabled individual is rich or poor. Benefits are payable based upon a Social Security earnings record.