Is State Disability The Same As Social Security Disability?

by Oct 28, 2018General

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State disability is not the same as Social Security disability.

The Differences Between State and Social Security Disability

While both programs provide compensation when a person becomes disabled and cannot work, different levels of government administer them. Social Security disability comes from the federal government and receives its funding from federal payroll taxes. State disability, as its name indicates, operates at the state level — and only in certain states.

States that offer disability programs do so on a short-term basis. This makes them an ideal stopgap measure for people who are not disabled long enough to qualify for Social Security disability, which requires you to have a medical condition that lasts or is expected to last 12 months or longer. Most state programs provide benefits for only a few months.

What Is Social Security Disability

Social Security is a federal government entitlement program that provides benefits to disabled workers as well as people with limited financial means. There are two federal programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), both of which operate under the purview of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Social Security Disability Insurance

SSDI is what comes to mind when most people think of Social Security disability. It is a program for workers who become disabled. In order to qualify, you not only must meet the program’s medical requirements, but you also must have a sufficient history of working and paying payroll taxes.

Unlike the other big federal government disability program, VA disability, SSDI requires you to be fully disabled to receive benefits. There is no partial Social Security disability. For this reason, when you file a disability claim, your medical evidence and other supporting documentation are critical.

Supplemental Security Income

SSI also provides benefits to people with disabilities. But rather than operating like an insurance program run by the federal government, it is a means-tested benefit program for those with low income and few assets. It has the same medical requirements as SSDI. Where it differs is in its non-medical requirements.

To qualify for SSI, you do not need to have a certain work history. You can receive SSI without ever having worked. But your income and total assets must fall below certain thresholds. If you make too much money or own too much personal property, you will not qualify for SSI.

What Is State Disability

State disability is a short-term benefit program offered in certain states to workers who become disabled. It operates like a stopgap to Social Security, providing compensation for people who have to miss work for a number of months but less than one year, making them ineligible for SSDI or SSI.

The five states that offer state disability as of 2018 are California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.


California offers up to one year of short-term disability benefits to anyone who earned and paid state taxes on at least $300 in your “base” year. If you get approved for short-term disability in California, you can receive up to 70% of your income.

New York

New York has a disability benefits law that requires all employers in the state to provide short-term disability to employees who have been with the company at least four weeks. If you get approved for short-term disability in New York, you can receive 50% of your average weekly income for up to 26 weeks.

New Jersey

New Jersey provides up to 26 weeks of short-term disability to injured workers in the state. If you get approved for disability in New Jersey, you’re eligible to receive as much as two-thirds of your average weekly income.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers up to 30 weeks of short-term disability to employees who qualify for benefits. The state has complex rules used to determine who is eligible, and if you get approved, the formula to calculate your benefit amount is also arcane and complicated. A lawyer can evaluate your situation and let you know what to expect when it comes to Rhode Island state disability.


Hawaii provides up to 26 weeks of short-term disability benefits. To qualify, you must have worked for your current employer for at least 14 weeks and earned an average of $400 per week. If you meet these requirements, you can receive up to 58% of your average salary during your disability period.

For a Free Case Evaluation, Call 865-566-0800 Today

If you have questions about Social Security disability or need help putting together a strong claim for benefits, our attorneys can help. We are the Disability Advantage Group, and we help disabled workers recover the benefits they deserve. For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call 865-566-0800.