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What You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a Social Security program which pays monthly benefits to anyone who becomes disabled before they reach retirement age and are not able to reenter the workforce. Another name for this type of insurance is “work disability.”

SSDI Eligibility

In order to qualify for the SSDI program, you need to have worked a specific number of years in a job where you paid Social Security taxes. In other words, you need to have earned a certain number of work credits (on average, you can earn up to four work credits each year). The amount of work credits you need to qualify depends on your age when you became disabled.

You need to have worked the following number of years (or earned the following number of credits to qualify for SSDI:

Age Person Became Disabled

Number of Credits Required

Number of Years Worked

21 through 24

6

1.5

24 through 31

6 to 18

1.5 to 4.5

31 through 42

20

5

44

22

5.5

46

24

6

48

26

6.5

50

28

7

52

30

7.5

54

32

8

56

34

8.5

58

36

9

60

28

9.5

62 or older

40

10

Furthermore, you must also have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability. SSDI benefits are eligible only to those with severe, long-term, total disability.

On the flip side, if you haven’t worked long enough when you become disabled, and you have low income and assets, you can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) instead. SSI has no work requirement, but applicants must be able to show financial need.

Approval for Disability

If you qualify for disability benefits and you are approved, you won’t receive any SSDI benefits until you have been disabled for five complete months. Keep in mind, it is more than likely that you wouldn’t be approved for about six months to a year. However, when you finally obtain approval, you would be paid disability back pay beginning with the sixth month after your disability starts.

For more information, contact our Martin County personal injury attorney at Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC today.