Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program that gives financial support to those who have a long-term disability that stops them from working. Payroll taxes fund this program, and the benefits you receive depend on your work history and the amount you have contributed to the Social Security system.
Although the SSDI application process can seem daunting, understanding the basics can make it more manageable. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about SSDI.
1. Who qualifies for SSDI?
To get SSDI, your medical condition must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. Typically, this means the disability has lasted or will last for at least 12 months, or it will result in death; additionally, you must have worked enough and recently enough to get disability benefits.
2. How do you apply for SSDI?
Three ways exist to apply for SSDI:
- Online through the SSA website
- By calling the SSA’s toll-free number
- Visiting a local Social Security office in person
Gather all necessary documentation, including medical records, work history and personal information, before you begin the application process.
3. How long does the application process take?
The duration of the application process varies for each person; some applicants get a decision within a few months, while others might wait more than a year. The nature and severity of the disability, the speed at which SSA gets information from your doctors and whether you need a medical examination all influence the timeline.
4. What if the SSA denies the application?
For a variety of reasons, the SSA denies many initial applications. If you get a notice saying they denied your application, you can appeal the decision within 60 days. Several levels of appeal exist, starting with a reconsideration of your application, then a hearing and a review by the Appeals Council. If other avenues fail, you can even take your case to a federal court.
5. How much will you receive in SSDI benefits?
The amount you get for SSDI depends on the average of what you earned before your disability started. Every year, the SSA sends out a Social Security Statement that provides an estimate of your disability benefits.
By knowing the requirements and steps, you can tackle the SSDI application with confidence. If you think you qualify, apply and seek the benefits that can help you during difficult times.