Many people are confused when it comes to state disability versus federal disability programs. Much of that confusion stems from how the application process for social security disability insurance (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI) is set up.

Both SSDI and SSI are federal programs, and payments come from the federal government. But the application for each benefit program is submitted to local Social Security Administration field offices, which then gives the application to the state’s office of disability determination services for review. This leads many people to the mistaken belief that these benefits are provided from the state, when in reality, the SSA has simply contracted with local agencies to process the application.

State disability is a wholly state-run program that provides cash assistance to residents who are unable to work due to disability. These programs are separate from the federal social security disability insurance (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI) programs, with their own unique set of eligibility criteria. They may provide anything from cash assistance to short-term disability to workers who are temporarily disabled and unable to work. Only a handful of states offer short-term disability to its residents – Illinois is not one of them.1

Illinois does provide supplemental benefits to individuals who receive SSI or SSDI through its Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD) program, which is operated by the state Department of Human Services. AABD provides financial assistance to low-income individuals age 65 or older, or individuals who are blind or disabled.  In order to receive benefits under this program, an applicant must:

  • Receive SSI (or be eligible to receive it, but for the fact that the applicant’s income exceeds SSI income limits);
  • Be a U.S. citizen, or meet certain requirement requirements for noncitizens;
  • Be an Illinois resident, and;
  • Be age 65 or older, blind or disabled


Like SSI, AABD has income limits; if an applicant exceeds those limits, he will be ineligible to receive benefits. DHS excludes, food stamps, energy assistance grants, earned income tax credits, and the first $25 of income from any other source when calculating an applicant’s monthly income. If the applicant works, DHS will not count the first $50 of monthly income.

AABD also has asset limits – $2,000 for an individual ($3,000 for a couple), plus an additional $50 for each dependent. The value of certain assets is excluded when determining your asset value. These exempt assets include:

  • Your home;
  • Clothing, personal effects and household furnishings valued up to $2,000;
  • Land, buildings, equipment and supplies or tools necessary for self-support, valued up to $6,000;
  • One automobile, if necessary for employment or medical treatment, essential daily activities, or if it is modified for operation by or transportation of a person with disabilities (such as a wheelchair accessible van);
  • One automobile valued no more than $4,500, if its value is not totally excluded for one of the reasons listed above;
  • Life insurance policies with a total face value of $1,500 or less;
  • Term life insurance policies, and;
  • Donations from fundraisers held for a seriously ill family member, provided the family cannot control the donations.


Applicants who are eligible to receive financial benefits under AABD are also eligible for the state’s Medicaid program. Applications for the AABD program should be made through DHS.

Are you applying for SSD benefits? Consider the Law office of Neil H. Good for your representation. Call us at #(847) 577-4476 or complete this online form for a complimentary case evaluation.