Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Benefits

At some point in your life, you’ve surely heard the term social security come up. As a whole, the social security administration agency specializes in providing retirement benefits, survivor benefits, Medicare coverage, supplemental security income, and disability benefits to Americans.

This financial protection comes from taxes Americans pay on their income, though the majority of Americans don’t see the benefits of this tax for many years. However, for those who are eligible, social security disability benefits could provide financial assistance in the current moment.

What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social security disability benefits from form the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program offered by the social security administration. This program pays out benefits to a person or their qualified family members who are insured under social security. The majority of Americans are already insured if they have been paying social security tax on their income for a number of years.

For the majority of people, the application process requires gathering the necessary information while ensuring your disability meets the requirements for the program. After reviewing your application and ensuring you have worked enough years to apply, the social security agency will make a determination based on your disability.

What Are the Qualifications for SSD Benefits?

There are two primary qualifications that a person needs to meet in order to qualify for SSD benefits. These include having worked a job that was covered by social security, while also having a medical condition that meets the administration’s definition of a disability. In most cases, monthly benefits will be paid out to people who are unable to work for a year or more due to a disability.

Generally, there is a five-month waiting period, with the first benefit being paid in the sixth full month after a person’s disability began. If it is found that you had a disability prior to applying, you may also be eligible for 12 months backpay from the time of application. There are three determining disability factors the SSA considers when looking at whether a person is eligible:

  1. The person must not be able to do work or engage in gainful activity as a result of their condition
  2. The person cannot do work they did previously or adjust to other work
  3. The disability is expected to last at least one year or is expected to result in death

Beyond the three above points, the SSA will also look at the following factors:

  1. Are you currently working?
  2. Is the condition you’re living with qualified as severe?
  3. Does the condition you have meet the SSA’s list of qualifying disabilities?
  4. Can you still perform the same job?
  5. Can you do any type of work besides your old job?

Any of the answers to the above questions may cause your request for disability benefits to be denied, but you can always appeal the choice if you believe a mistake has been made. There are special exemptions to the definitions and questions above, particularly those who live with disabilities such as being blind and/or deaf.

Social Security Disability Benefits vs. Social Security Supplemental Income

Many people often confuse social security disability benefits with social security supplemental income. After all, both are offered by the SSA and apply to people who have a disability and meet the medical criteria for each. SSI is provided to individuals with a disability who have an income, but below the required threshold.

Generally speaking, the pay chart for social security disability benefits goes higher than that of SSI, due to the fact that those eligible for SSI have a source of income. It’s also worth noting that SSI is the supplemental income provided to those older than 65 who do not have a disability.

Additionally, children under the age of 18 who have serious physical or mental conditions may be eligible for SSI, so long as they live in a household with limited income or resources at their disposal. The application process for both programs is extremely similar, but being denied for social security disability benefits doesn’t technically mean you are ineligible for social security supplemental income.

Understand your Financial Assistance

For those who are eligible social security disability benefits can provide great financial assistance. Provide your medical information if you believe you are eligible for benefits under the SSDI program. If you believe you are eligible but have been disqualified from receiving benefits, don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney in your area who can fight for your rights.