Learn the Different Types of Disability Benefits Available to You

61 million adults in the United States have a disability.

That’s 1 in 4 adults.

If you’re disabled and suffering financially, you could be missing out on the disability benefits that you qualify for. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of disability benefits and how to know whether you qualify. 

Types of Disability Policies

There are two main types of disability policies – short-term and long-term.

Short-term policies may pay benefits for up to 2 years. Most of these policies only last for a few months up to a year.

Long-term disability policies will pay benefits for several years or until the disability ends.

Disability policies are often offered by employers. If you become disabled while employed, you may qualify for benefits under a short-term policy, long-term policy, or both depending on the coverage offered by your employer. You may also qualify for disability benefits from the federal government, the state, or Veteran’s Affairs (VA).

Federal Disability Benefits

There are two federal programs that offer disability benefits. – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To qualify for one of these programs, you have to meet the definition of disabled as determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Your disability must either last for at least a year or result in your death. The impairment you suffer from must be on the list of disabling medical conditions that is provided by the SSA.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the differences between SSDI and SSI. 


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for people who become disabled after previously being in the workforce. To qualify, you need to have earned enough work credits within a certain time period.

If you qualify for SSDI, your spouse, former spouse, and children may also qualify to receive benefits.

You can apply for SDDI benefits in person, online, or by phone. If your application gets approved, there is a 5 month waiting period before you can receive benefits. If your application is denied, you have a right to appeal the decision through an appeals process. 


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another federal program run by the SSA. Unlike SSDI, SSI is for people who are 65 or older or disabled who do not have income or other resources. This means that eligibility has nothing to do with work history.

The application process for children and adults is a little bit different. Adults can apply in person, by phone, or online in certain cases. But if you are applying for a child, you have to start the process online and complete it by phone or in person.

If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal that decision. 

Can You Work While Receiving Federal Disability Benefits?

If you are still capable of working and you are receiving SSDI or SSI, you may be able to earn that extra income without it affecting your federal benefits. What matters is how much you earn.

If you earn less than a certain amount, you will still receive your benefits. 

VA Disability Benefits

If you’re a veteran and your disability is related to your service, you may be able to receive disability benefits from the VA. These benefits are monthly and are not taxable.

If you are a survivor of a veteran, you may be eligible for benefits under certain circumstances. 

State Disability Insurance

If you live in California, you may also qualify for disability benefits through the state. California has a program called the California State Disability Insurance program (SDI).

The Disability Insurance (DI) portion of this program provides short-term benefits to replace lost wages to California workers who qualify. This program only offers monetary benefits and does not ensure your job will be protected. To qualify, you must be unable to work due to pregnancy, childbirth, or an injury or illness that is not related to your job.

The second part of the SDI program is Paid Family Leave (PFL). This benefit offers wage replacement money to eligible workers. To qualify, you must have a new child, be tasked with caring for a seriously ill family member, or have a qualifying event related to a family member’s international deployment.

You can learn more about applying for SDI here

Health Insurance for People with Disabilities

If you have a disability, you may also qualify for special health insurance programs.

Medicaid offers medical benefits at low or no cost to those with disabilities.

Medicare offers health insurance to people under the age of 65 if they have a qualifying disability or permanent kidney failure that requires a transplant or dialysis.

People with disabilities that don’t qualify for other disability benefits can find affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace. 

How Do I Know What Benefits I Qualify For?

As you can see, there are several different types of disability benefits that you might qualify for. Some of them even overlap. It can be difficult to understand which types you might qualify for and how to apply for each type of benefit.

You’ve probably heard stories of what a nightmare applying for disability benefits can be. Rest assured that you don’t have to navigate the process alone. Hiring a disability attorney is the best way to ensure you get all of the benefits you are entitled to.

Your attorney will help you apply for benefits, get the medical documentation needed to prove your case, and appeal your claim if you get denied. 

Do You Qualify for These Types of Disability Benefits? 

If you’re wondering whether you qualify for one or more of these types of disability benefits, we are here to help.

We can help you determine whether you qualify for local or federal benefits and help you apply. If your claim is denied, we will take you through the appeals process and fight for the benefits you are entitled to.

Click here to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to learn more about getting disability benefits today. 

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