Who can get disability benefits under Social Security?

Under the Social Security disability insurance program (title II of the Act), there are three basic categories of individuals who can qualify for benefits on the basis of disability:

  • A disabled insured worker under full retirement age.
  • An individual disabled since childhood (before age 22) who is a dependent of a parent entitled to title II disability or retirement benefits or was a dependent of a deceased insured parent.
  • A disabled widow or widower, age 50-60 if the deceased spouse was insured under Social Security.

Under title XVI, or SSI, a financially needy person can get payments based on disability under two basic categories:

  • An adult age 18 or over who is disabled.
  • A child (under age 18) who is disabled.