Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income is for low or no-income individuals. SSI at its core is a program to financially assist those found disabled by SSA and have very limited assets. An individual must have $2,000 or less in countable resources. A married couple must have less than $3,000 in countable resources. When calculating “the countable resources” for a “legally married” individual, SSA will count the spouse’s “countable resources, including wages among other things,” towards the $3,000 limit.

Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)

The key word for this program is “insurance”. The number of work credits you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when your disability begins. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year your disability begins. However, younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. DIB can get complicated. Two important questions when looking at DIB benefits are (1) have you worked long enough to qualify for the insurance; and, (2) when does your disability insurance expire. Just like car insurance, once you stop paying for it, you will eventually stop being insured.

Any disability insurance you qualify for through working and paying into the system will typically lapse five years after you stop working. To qualify for DIB, you must prove you met the rules of disability before your disability insurance lapses. These timeframes are calculated for each individual based on his/her specific work history.

Disabled Widow(er) Benefits (DWB)

To be eligible for DWB, a widow(er) or surviving divorced spouse must meet the following requirements:

  • You are age 50-59.
  • You meet the definition of disability for adults.
  • Your disability started before or within seven years of your spouse’s death.

Married to NH (number holder) for not less than 9 months immediately prior to day in which NH died, unless exception applies. The number of credits needed to provide benefits for survivors depends on the worker’s age when they die.

Child Benefits (Child SSI)

Children’s SSI is a program for individuals under 18 years old or regularly attending students that are under 22 years old. In order to qualify for this program, the minor or student must meet all the same disability requirements as those applying under non-child SSI. Please note that if a child or student is under age 18, not married, and lives at home with parent(s) who do not receive SSI benefits, SSA may consider a portion of the parents’ income and resources as if they were available to the child. SSA may also count portion of stepparent or other guardian resources and make various deductions for parents and other children living in the home. The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, that result in “marked and severe functional limitations”. This means that the condition(s) must very seriously limit your child’s activities. (

Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)

Disabled Adult Child Benefits go to the children of persons who are deceased, or who are drawing Social Security Disability or Retirement benefits. You must prove that the adult child’s disability began on or before the child’s 22nd birthday.