Disability benefits are benefits paid out to people who are disabled. Many governments offer cash benefits to people with disabilities, sometimes supplementing with the provision of health care in regions where health care is not provided to all citizens by the government. Individual jobs, labor unions, and other organizations can also pay out benefits to people with disabilities, as can specialized insurance policies. These benefits are designed to ensure that disabled individuals have the money they need to live comfortably and receive the care that they require.
When someone is born disabled, disability benefits may be paid to his or her family as an incentive for providing care at home, although institutionalization of people with severe disabilities may be offered as an option. Once people come of age, the payments may pass into their control if they have the mental capacity to handle their own finances, as in the case of someone who cannot work because of a severe physical disability, while people with developmental disabilities may not be eligible for direct payments. People can use their disability payments for specific things, such as paying in home care workers or covering the cost of medications, or more general costs, like rent and food.
In the case of someone who becomes disabled, there are several types of disability benefits. People who are injured on the job may receive benefits from their employers which are supplemented by government benefits. People who become disabled due to illness, accidents, and other events are eligible for benefits from the government, and sometimes through private insurance policies, if they have taken out such policies. If people can work or choose to work with a disability, their benefits may be decreased.
Some payments are provided to people of all incomes, with the basis of the payment being the amount of time that someone spent in the work force before becoming disabled, and the nature of his or her disability. Social Security Disability (SSD) in the United States is an example of this type of disability benefit. In other cases, benefits are provided on a need-based system to people who demonstrate financial need, as in the case of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in the United States.
The amount of disability benefits can vary. Some people get payments large enough to support them very comfortably, and to pay for needed services, ranging from new wheelchairs to maids. Other people with disabilities may struggle to make do with their disability benefits, with many people experiencing poverty and deprivation as a result of physical or mental disability.