Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and designed to provide monthly benefits to people who have a medically-determinable disability (physical or mental) that restricts their ability to be employed. SSDI does not provide partial or temporary benefits but rather pays only full benefits and only pays benefits in cases in which the disability is "expected to last at least one year or result in death."[1] Relative to disability programs in other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the SSDI program in the United States has strict requirements regarding eligibility.[2]

People frequently confuse Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Unlike SSDI (as well as Social Security retirement benefits) where payment is based on contribution credits earned through previous work and therefore treated as an insurance benefit without reference to other income or assets, SSI is a means-tested program in the United States for disabled children, disabled adults, and the elderly who have income and resources below administratively mandated thresholds. A legitimately disabled person (a finding based on legal and medical justification) of any income level can receive SSDI. ('Disability' under SSDI is measured by a different standard than under the Americans with Disabilities Act.)

Informal names for SSDI include Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Title II disability benefits. These names come from the chapter title of the governing section of the Social Security Act. The original Social Security Act of August 1935 did not include SSDI. Rather, SSDI was put into effect in July 1956 after two decades of policy debates.