Social Security (Federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Benefits)
Title II of the Social Security Act authorizes federal disability insurance benefits for workers who have contributed to the Social Security trust funds and become blind or disabled before retirement age.
Disability benefits are provided to a person who is unable to engage in any "substantial gainful activity" due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death.
Spouses with disabilities and dependent children of fully insured workers are also eligible for disability benefits upon the retirement, disability, or death of the primary beneficiary. Family members of workers who are retired, deceased, or disabled are eligible if they are:
- Unmarried children under the age of 18 (or if a student, the age of 19)
- Unmarried adult children of any age if their disability occurred before age 22
- Wife or husband at any age if a child in his/her care is receiving benefits on the worker's Social Security record and is under age 16 or disabled
- Spouse age 62 or over
Individuals who have been entitled to disability benefits for 24 consecutive months are also eligible for Medicare health insurance benefits.
Disability insurance benefits (DIB) generally fall into three categories: