Eligibility Requirements for SSDI Benefits

The Federal government has two special programs designed to provide cash to persons with disabilities or who have been disabled due to accidents: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Though both are from the Social Security Administration (SSA), each program has different requirements for eligibility.

SSDI, specifically, is mainly designed to provide cash benefits to its members – employees – who sustain disabling injuries that are not work-related (an employee who sustains a work-related injury, whether disabling or not, or develops an illness due to work, or whose existing illness worsens due to poor working conditions, can apply for compensation with his or her state’s Workers’ Comp Insurance program and, if such injury leads to permanent disability, can also apply for SSDI benefits).

As per SSA rule, SSDI is granted only to qualified member employees who are totally disabled or whose medical condition will very like last for at least a year or result to death. The term disability, based on SSA definition, is a condition that will render a member unable to perform the work which he or she did before becoming disabled or any other work due to his or her disability. Besides being permanently disabled, a member, to be considered qualified, should:

  • have acquired the necessary amount of credits. Credits are earned through the monthly payment of Social Security taxes (identified as FICA, or Federal Insurance Contributions Act). These taxes are automatically deducted from an employee’s monthly take home pay. A maximum of 4 credits are earned within a year; and,
  • be 65 years old or below, otherwise, he or she will be receiving the SS Retirement benefit instead. Employee members whose disability is found in the SSA list of severe medical conditions may automatically be considered eligible to receive SSDI.

There are members who, while qualifying for SSDI, are also found eligible to receive SSI benefits. This is called “concurrent benefits.” In many instances receiving both cash benefits is quite necessary since SSDI alone is often small or not enough to support a member’s (and his/her family’s) needs.

Sadly, however, despite being eligible, the long and complicated process of applying for benefits plus the stringent ways by which SS evaluators assess applications, have resulted to many applications getting disapproved due to various reasons, including simple mistakes, like missing a signature, lacking a document, and so forth.

Receiving SSDI benefits is a right of permanently disabled members who have diligently paid their SS taxes. Often, to be assured of receiving this benefit without delay, seeking the services of a highly-skilled SS disability insurance lawyer is necessary.

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