Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program designed to provide financial support to individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability.
The program aims to assist those facing challenges in maintaining employment due to health issues, offering financial aid to support their livelihoods. In this blog, you will learn about the SSDI program, who is eligible, and who can apply. Let’s take a deep dive.
What is SSDI?
SSDI Social Security is a federal program in the United States that provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability.
Funded through Social Security taxes, SSDI offers monthly benefits to eligible individuals, offering a crucial financial lifeline for those facing challenges in maintaining employment due to health issues. To qualify, applicants must meet specific criteria, including having a severe impairment expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
What Do Recipients Receive In The SSDI Program?
In 2023, the highest monthly benefit one can receive from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is $3,627. However, the average benefit is considerably lower, standing at around $1,358 per month for most recipients.
The primary goal of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is to provide financial assistance and support to individuals who are unable to work due to qualifying disabilities. By replacing a portion of their lost earnings, SSDI aims to help disabled workers maintain financial stability and cover essential living expenses.
Who Is Eligible For the SSDI Program?
Eligibility depends on the following factors:
- Age Limit: Individuals must be below the full retirement age (currently 66 and gradually increasing to 67).
- Medical Condition: Must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, expected to last at least one year or result in death.
- Work Credits: The eligibility is based on work credits earned through employment. Work credits are earned based on the amount of income earned and the duration of work.
- Assets: There is no strict asset limit for SSDI, but the focus is on work history and income rather than personal assets.
Who Should Apply For SSDI?
Anyone who has a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, is expected to last at least one year or result in death, and has earned sufficient work credits through employment should consider applying for SSDI. It is especially relevant for individuals below the full retirement age who are unable to work due to a disabling condition.
However, some conditions may automatically qualify for disability (See more about which conditions automatically qualify for disability).
How To Apply for SSDI?
To apply for SSDI, visit the Social Security Administration’s website or contact your local SSA office to begin the application process. Have your personal information, medical records, and work history ready, and consider seeking guidance from the SSA or online resources to ensure a smooth application. (Learn more on how to apply for disability benefits)
When should an applicant apply for the SSDI benefits?
It’s advisable for applicants to apply for SSDI benefits as soon as they become disabled, as there is typically a five-month waiting period before benefits commence. The SSDI application process involves providing the Social Security Administration with information about medical and work history to assess eligibility.
SSDI working application process
The SSDI application process involves several key steps:
- Initial Application: Applicants submit a detailed written application, including information about past work, treatment, and copies of medical records. A government staffer reviews the file and makes an initial decision.
- Appeals: If the initial application is denied (which happens to a majority), applicants can appeal the decision. This involves submitting additional evidence and eventually getting a hearing with a judge.
- Hearing: At the hearing, applicants can present more evidence, directly speak to the judge, and cross-examine government experts. About 50% of those who reach this stage win their case.
- Further Appeals: If needed, there are additional stages of appeal beyond the hearing.
While the process can take time, ranging from 3 to 6 months for an initial decision to 1 to 2 years or more for a hearing, successful applicants receive benefits for the period they should have been getting benefits. Even a small mistake in the application can lead to denial, emphasizing the importance of accuracy in the process.
When Do You Need An SSI Lawyer To Apply For benefits?
A Social Security disability lawyer can significantly aid in securing SSDI benefits by navigating the complex application and appeals process. They assist in gathering crucial medical evidence, ensuring accurate completion of forms, and presenting a compelling case during hearings. Their expertise is valuable in addressing legal complexities, and improving the likelihood of disability claims.