To receive Disability Insurance Benefits you must have
worked and paid Social Security taxes for 20 quarters
(5 years) out of the past 40 quarters (10 years) and
have earned a minimum amount per quarter. This time
period is measured backward from the alleged date of
onset of your disability, but does not go further back
than when you were 21 years old.
The minimum earnings amount varies, but for 1999 it
was $740.00 per quarter.
The disability insurance benefits program was added to
the Social Security system in 1956.
Benefits range from $1.00 to a maximum of about $1,300
per month depending upon how much and for how long a
person has paid into the system.
Dependents of a disabled worker can receive
monetary benefits but not a medical card.
The Medicare card comes with Disability
Insurance Benefits. You cannot get the Medicare card
until 24 months after disability payments begin. There
are no prescription drug benefits under the Medicare
card and only limited days per year in a hospital or
To receive Supplemental Security Income benefits you
do not need to have worked or paid into the Social
Security system at all. SSI is at heart a welfare
system for very poor people. These are people who have
never worked, or haven't worked enough to have earned
the necessary quarters to qualify for disability
Social Security, or who have not worked in the past
five years as of the alleged date of onset of
DIB claimants whose benefits are less than the SSI
maximum are eligible to receive SSI payments so that
the combined DIB and SSI benefits equal the SSI
The SSI program began in 1974
Benefits can range from $1.00 to a maximum of $512.00
Dependents of an SSI recipient are not entitled
to receive any monetary benefits.
The Medicaid card comes with SSI benefits and
begins the same month that SSI benefits begin. The
Medicaid card provides more coverage than the Medicare
card. For example Medicaid pays for some prescription
medications as well as for long term nursing care.