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What Is The Social Security Disability Insurance Program?

The SSDI program pays benefits to a person who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this strict definition of disability. The person must also be “insured.” This means that they must have worked long enough — and recently enough — and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings. Certain family members of a worker can also receive benefits. While some programs give money to people with a partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.

Military families with a family member with special needs or a family member with a military-connected disability may receive supplemental income through SSDI if they qualify.

To learn more about SSDI or to apply, visit Social Security’s Benefits for People with Disabilities webpage.

Contact your installation’s Military Family Support Center or a Military OneSource special needs consultant if you have questions or concerns about:

Review the Long-Term and Financial Planning checklist in the EFMP & Me tool for help navigating the network of available services and support, including SSDI. For more information about legal and long-term financial planning for your family member with special needs, listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of Long-Term and Financial Planning in the Office of Special Needs EFMP podcast series.

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