Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a Social Security program that pays monthly benefits to you if you become disabled before you reach retirement age and are deemed unable to work. Here, the disability advocates at Disability Associates break down the key facts of SSDI and how the program works from start to finish.

Knowing if You are Eligible for SSDI

The first step in being approved for SSDI is to determine whether you are eligible to receive disability benefits according to the rules of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA determines this by examining if you have met work requirements—and generated enough income—during the years before applying and have contributed enough to the Social Security system in order to earn the appropriate number of work credits.

The amount it takes to earn one work credit is calculated annually. For example, in 2018, you must earn $1,320 to get one Social Security work credit, or $5,200 to get the maximum four credits for the year. During your lifetime, you will most likely earn more credits than the minimum number you need to be eligible for benefits.

The specific number of credits that you need to receive disability benefits varies depending on your age. The SSA Benefits Planner has a chart that outlines exactly how many credits you need to be considered eligible. Be sure to consult this resource if you plan on applying for SSDI in the near future.

Finally, to be eligible for SSDI, you must also be diagnosed with a medical condition that meets the SSA’s criteria for severe, long-term and total disability. Be sure to view the SSA’s Listing of Impairments to determine if your condition qualifies.

Applying for SSDI

Applying for disability benefits can be a long, complicated process. The best course of action is to apply for disability benefits as soon as you are injured and become disabled. You can apply online, over the phone at 1-800-772-1213 or at a local Social Security office.

During the application process, the SSA will require some essential pieces of information about you and your work history. This includes, but is not limited to, your Social Security number, name and Social Security number of your current spouse, names and dates of birth of any minor children, account and routing numbers of your bank or financial institution, information about your medical condition and more. Be sure to have all necessary information available to help expedite the process.

Handling a Denied Claim and Having Legal Representation

In the case that your Social Security Disability Insurance claim is denied, there are several steps you can take to appeal the decision. The notice you receive from the SAA, explaining the denial, will explain how to appeal the decision and the time period in which you must make the request. You may appeal for both medical and non-medical reasons online through the SSA’s website.

Even though the federal government does not require applicants to have legal representation, the Social Security Administration says that claimants who have attorneys typically have a better chance of a successful result. The disability advocates at Disability Associates are committed to fighting for your rights as an individual with a disability and can help throughout the process to maximize the chances of a successful claim. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today for more information.