If you are unable to work due to mental or physical disability, you may be eligible to receive social security benefits. There are two basic benefits which are paid to individuals who are disabled and eligible for social security disability. If you are found disabled, you may be entitled to receive one, both, or some combination of each.
In order to be eligible for either type of benefit, you must first meet the definition of “disabled” used by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You should be aware that it is not enough to simply be unable to perform your previous work. The evaluation process used by SSA is more detailed than that and involves consideration of what impairments you have and how long they might last, your education and prior employment skills, whether you are presently working, your age and your physical functional abilities (how much you can lift, how long can you sit or stand, etc.).
Assuming that you qualify as “disabled”, the two basic types of benefits are:
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB). This is the benefit that workers receive based on how much they have worked and how much they have paid in social security taxes. At any stage of your application process, a social security office representative can usually tell you approximately what your benefit will be if you are awarded. You can also look at the benefit estimate calculator on the Social Security Administration website.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This need based program provides income to individuals who are either aged (65 or older), blind, or disabled. The standard of “disability” is the same for either SSI or DIB, but the monthly amount will be different. To receive SSI benefits, you must establish that you are blind or disabled, but in addition, you must also show that you have limited income, assets, and resources to qualify.