Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is a commonly used acronym which is short for Social Security Disability Insurance, a program that provides monthly Social Security Disability benefits to individuals under the age of 65 who meet certain criteria for disability and have accumulated sufficient work credits.

What are the Requirements?

To qualify for SSDI benefits through Social Security, you must have held qualifying job for a specified period of time. Qualifying employment is defined as work for which you contributed to the Social Security system. Each year, the Social Security Administration grants up to four work credits depending on your total annual earnings or self-employment income. The credit amount required varies from year to year, so it’s a good idea to check the credit amount required prior to applying to ensure you have enough. These credits are based not only on your earnings, but also on your age at the time you become incapacitated. Much of the information you require can be found on your Social Security Statement, which is available on the SSA’s website.

Along with work credits, you must demonstrate that you are disabled by a totally disabling ailment that precludes you from working. A debilitating condition, according to Social Security, is one that prevents you from performing the work you did prior to being incapacitated, prevents you from performing alternative employment despite your disability, and has lasted or is likely to persist at least 12 months or results in your death. SSDI does not pay payments for temporary or partial disability.

You Will Require Tests

Means Test – To qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration’s definition, you must either be fully disabled from employment or be working but unable to earn more than $1,070 a month. This income restriction changes on a regular basis, so before applying for Social Security disability payments, be sure to check the income limit for the year in which you intend to apply.

Severity Tests – Test assesses the degree of your disability. Regardless of your diagnosis, SSA will award you Social Security disability benefits under SSDI only if your condition significantly impairs your capacity to work.

Medical Proof – If you fulfill the income and severity tests, the SSA will request medical documentation demonstrating that you fit the criteria for your disabling condition as defined in the publication entitled Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, popularly known as the Blue Book. Additionally, the SSA maintains a list of 50 medical conditions that automatically qualify for SSDI benefits, referred to as compassionate allowances.

Job Test – the SSA will then decide if you are capable of performing past work. If not, it will assess whether you are qualified to perform another type of employment based on your education, work experience, and age.

The tests outlined above are the fundamental requirements for eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. Other eligibility requirements apply if you are blind, widowed, applying on behalf of a child, or a member of the armed services.

Additional Benefits

If you file for SSDI benefits and are successful, your family members, such as your spouse or children, may be eligible to receive payments on your behalf. How much your family members receive is determined on the amount of Social Security taxes you paid while working.

When applying for SSDI benefits, you must include your spouse and/or dependent children in your initial claim. To qualify, your spouse must be under the age of 62 and co-caregiver of your children with you, but only if they are under the age of 16. If you and your spouse divorce, if you were married for at least ten years, your spouse may still be eligible for auxiliary benefits under your SSDI.

If your children are under the age of 18, unmarried, and enrolled in school, they may be eligible for auxiliary benefits.

The Following Steps to Take

If you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits under SSDI, you will receive them until you are able to return to work or attain retirement age, at which point your disability payments will automatically convert to regular Social Security Retirement benefits.

While the regulations may appear simple at first glance, they are frequently comprehensive, detailed, and difficult to comprehend. The time span between filing an initial application and receiving a final ruling can be measured in years. It is highly recommended that you obtain the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate to assist you through the application and appeals processes in the majority of cases.