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Public benefits for people with disabilities

Social Security/SSI benefits for people with disabilities: Two kinds of benefits from the Social Security Administration

This section covers two programs. They both use the same definition of disability (except there is a special definition for children on SSI):


to. SSI Benefits

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): These benefits are for children and adults with limited income and resources. People over the age of 65 can also receive these benefits (with certain limitations for non-citizens). The SSI benefit level in California for 2016 is $889.40 for an elderly or disabled person and $1,496.20 for a couple. If you receive other income (such as SSDI/Title II benefits) that is less than standard SSI, you may also receive an SSI check to supplement your other income. If you receive even one dollar of SSI, you are automatically entitled to Medi-Cal at no cost.


b. SSDI/Title II Benefits

There are two types of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The first is for workers with disabilities who are insured under Social Security. The second is for disabled adult children of workers who have Social Security coverage who are retired, disabled, or deceased. Such benefits are sometimes called Title II benefits. Title II is the section that covers disability, retirement, and dependent benefits in the Social Security Act.

  1. For workers with disabilities
  • Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI): These are benefits for people who have worked and paid into Social Security long enough to qualify for benefits when disabled. The disabled worker's spouse and children may be eligible for benefits in addition to the worker's. After 24 months of receiving SSDI benefits, the beneficiary begins receiving Medicare.
  1. For disabled adult children of workers
  • Social Security Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC or CDB): This is a special Title II program for people who are at least 18 years old, who became disabled before they turned 22, and who are single at the time of application. These special dependent benefits use the earnings of a retired, disabled, or deceased parent (or other caregiver) who paid Social Security. The disabled adult child is not eligible for these benefits until the parent begins receiving Title II benefits upon retirement, disability, or death. After 24 months of benefits, the DAC/CDB beneficiary is eligible for Medicare.


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