The Social Security Administration (SSA) has responsibility for two disability
programs. Title II is the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which is
an insurance program for those who have worked and paid into the system.
This is comparable to private disability insurance. Title XVI is the Supplemental
Security Income program (SSI) that provides for individuals (including children
under 18) who are disabled and have limited income and resources. Many
individuals who have worked in the past but are now disabled qualify for
payments from both programs.
The process for qualifying for Social Security Disability and for SSI are the
same. Once an individual has applied for benefits there will be a medical
determination made. If the medical evidence shows that the person is
disabled, then the income and payment history will determine whether the
person qualifies for either or both of the programs. Although it is not part of
the medical evaluation, physicians who care for disabled patients can be very
helpful in qualifying for benefits.