disability benefits

Who Qualifies for Disability Benefits?

Ensuring You're Covered No Matter Your Disability

Disability benefits are financial assistance provided to individuals who cannot work due to a physical or mental impairment. The disability can be defined in two forms, qualify and short-term disabilities.

Disability Benefits for Veterans

Veteran seniors may be eligible for various disability benefits and assistance programs. Here are some key programs available to them:

  • Disability Compensation:┬áDisabled veterans may qualify for Disability Compensation, a tax-free monetary benefit provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The compensation amount is based on the severity of the service-connected disability.
  • Veterans Pension:┬áThe Veterans Pension program provides income-based financial assistance to wartime veterans with limited income and non-service-connected disabilities. It helps eligible veterans who are 65 years or older or have a permanent and total non-service-connected disability.
  • Aid and Attendance (A&A) and Housebound Allowance:┬áThese are additional benefits that can be added to the Veterans Pension or Disability Compensation. Aid and Attendance provides increased financial assistance for veterans who need help with daily activities, while Housebound Allowance is for veterans with a permanent disability limiting their ability to leave home.
  • VA Healthcare:┬áSenior veterans can access comprehensive healthcare services through the VA healthcare system, including primary care, specialty care, medications and long-term care options.
  • VA Home Loans:┬áThe VA offers home loan programs specifically designed for veterans, including the VA Loan, which provides favorable terms and assistance for qualifying veterans to purchase or refinance a home.

Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is a federal program that offers disability benefits to people with a prior work history and who have paid Social Security taxes. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, an individual must meet the following criteria:

A physical or mental impairment prevents them from participating in a substantial gainful activity (SGA). It means they cannot perform their previous job or any other job they are qualified for due to a medical condition expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

Must satisfy the work credits requirement, which means they must have earned a sufficient number of work credits by paying Social Security taxes. The number of work credits needed depends on the age at which the disability arose.

Be below the full retirement age. The full retirement age is 66 years and ten months for individuals born in 1959 or later.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a Listing of Impairments outlining medical conditions automatically qualifying for SSDI benefits. These medical conditions are categorized into two main sections, adult and childhood disabilities. Some of the medical conditions listed under adult disabilities include:

  • Musculoskeletal system disorders such as spinal disorders, joint dysfunction and amputations.
  • Cardiovascular system disorders such as chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease and peripheral artery disease.
  • Respiratory disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and cystic fibrosis.
  • Digestive system disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic liver disease and pancreatitis.
  • Neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
  • Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.
  • Immune system disorders such as HIV infection, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cancer and malignant neoplastic diseases.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you can apply for benefits. Here are the steps to apply for SSDI:

  • Gather required information: You must provide personal information, such as your Social Security number, birth certificate and medical records. You must also offer employment information, such as your work history and recent job duties.
  • Apply online, by phone or in person: You can apply for SSDI online through the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. You can also use it by phone by calling the SSA toll-free number. Another option is to make an appointment to apply in person at your local Social Security office.
  • Wait for a decision: The SSA will review your application and medical records to determine your eligibility for SSDI benefits. The process can take several months, and you may be asked to provide additional information or attend a medical exam.

It is essential to acknowledge that the SSDI application procedure can be intricate, and several petitioners may initially be denied benefits. It can be helpful to work with an experienced disability attorney or advocate who can help guide you through the process and support your rights.

Eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to individuals who are disabled, blind or aged and have limited income and resources. Eligibility for SSI benefits is based on the following criteria:

For Adults

  • Are 65 years old or older, blind or have a disability that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
  • Have limited income, which includes wages, pensions and other sources of income.
  • They have limited resources, which refers to their own things, such as property and personal belongings.
  • Are U.S. citizens, nationals of the U.S. or some non-citizens.
  • Are residents of one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or the Northern Mariana Islands. However, Puerto Rico, Guam and the United States Virgin Islands are not included in the program, except for some instances, such as the children of military parent(s) assigned to permanent duty outside the U.S., and some students temporarily abroad may still receive SSI payments.

For Children

  • Children may also be eligible for SSI if they meet the following criteria:
  • They are under 18 and have physical or mental conditions that limit their daily activities for at least 12 months or are expected to result in death.
  • They live in a household with limited income or resources, and their benefits are based on financial needs.
  • The medical conditions that qualify for SSI benefits are the same as those that qualify for SSDI benefits. However, unlike SSDI, SSI does not require an individual to have a work history or to have paid Social Security taxes. Instead, SSI benefits are based on financial need, and the individual's income and resources determine the benefit amount.

How to Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Provide necessary documentation: You must provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address, phone number and email address (optional). You will also need to provide income and asset information.
  • Start an application: Commence the application procedure through online mode. However, before initiating, review the essential aspects to comprehend the process and ensure you have the necessary details and papers to finalize the application.
  • Await a verdict: The Social Security Administration (SSA) will scrutinize your SSI application and financial particulars to determine whether you are qualified for SSI benefits. The procedure can take a few months, and you may be requested to provide extra information.


Qualify disability is a permanent disability that makes an individual unable to work for at least 12 months or results in death. On the other hand, short-term disability is a temporary disability that can prevent an individual from working for a few weeks or months.

Disability benefits are intended to provide financial support and assistance to individuals who cannot earn an income due to disability. The benefits can help cover the costs of medical care, living expenses and other related expenses.

In the United States, disability benefits are provided through federal programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Eligibility for disability benefits can vary based on several factors.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are crucial programs that provide financial assistance to individuals unable to work due to disability, limited income or resources. Understanding the eligibility requirements and application process for these programs is essential. To know more, it is advised to visit their official websites. With the proper steps, individuals can receive the benefits they need to maintain their financial stability and quality of life.

Now that you've gained a good understanding of disability benefits, ensure you have the right protection with health insurance.