The Social Security Administration's (SSA) retirement program has been a
basic part of American life for more than 68 years. In addition to providing
benefits for retired workers, Social Security also provides financial support
for younger workers and their families who face a loss of income due to
disability or the death of a family wage earner.
Supplemental Society Income (SSI) and Social Security
Disability Insurance (SSDI):
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly disability
income for those who meet Social Security rules for disability and who have
limited income and resources.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is wage replacement insurance
for a primary wage earner who becomes disabled or dies and who has paid FICA
taxes for the required length of time. SSDI provides income for family members
when a primary wage earner in the family becomes disabled or dies. SSDI is
financed with FICA taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons.
SSDI benefits are also payable to disabled workers, widows, widowers, and
children or adults disabled since childhood who meet eligibility requirements
(see "Medical Eligibility").
Medical Eligibility - Definition of Disability
To be eligible for the SSDI program, the Social Security definition of
disability must be met. To meet medical eligibility requirements, an individual
must be unable to engage in any "Substantial Gainful Activity" for at
least 12 months. This is the same medical definition used in the Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) program that defines Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
as, "any significant activity, physical or mental, which is performed for
pay over a reasonable period of time." SGA dollar amounts are adjusted
every January, in a process called indexing.
Social Security also has separate eligibility rules for individuals who are
The Ticket-to-Work Program is a protection and advocacy program created to
serve Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities who want to continue to
work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies beneficiaries who are
eligible to participate in the Ticket Program by issuing them a
"Ticket". Beneficiaries receiving a ticket are referred to as
Ticket-to-Work participants are able to choose an authorized service
provider for assistance in reaching their employment goals. Service providers
will help with job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation, and
transportation. A job coach may also be provided.
Beneficiaries eligible for the Ticket Program
Youth determined to be
disabled under Social Security's adult rules after age 18.
Adult Social Security
disability beneficiaries who are Childhood Disability Beneficiaries (CDB),
formerly referred to as Disabled Adult Children (DAC).
Adults under age 65 who
receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security
Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Plans for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)
PASS is a written plan that identifies what an individual needs in order to
return to work. The plan is submitted to the Social Security Administration. It
identifies work goals and how long it will take to achieve them. The plan also
defines what the cost will be to achieve set goals.
The work goal can be to obtain part or full time work. You can work at home
or away from home, work for wages, or start your own business. The plan must be
something you can realistically expect to accomplish and will generate adequate
income for you.
The things you need to buy must be related to your goal such as: training or
tuition, a car or van for transportation, a computer or tools and supplies for
your trade or business, day care for a child while you work or attend school,
or adaptive technology.
The PASS lets you put income which would otherwise reduce, eliminate, or
make you ineligible for an SSI check into a separate bank account. That money
may be spent on those items identified in PASS. The length of time your PASS
will take will depend on your plan, what you need, and the amount of money you
have available to put in the account.
A PASS must be approved by Social Security before it takes effect.