Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI
What does Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI mean?
Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a government funded disability program provided to workers who become disabled and are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months or who are expected to die. Workers must not only have a severe, debilitating condition to qualify for SSDI benefits, they also must have worked and earned sufficient work credits to be insured.
Workers whose condition will not last 12 continuous months, who do not have a severe condition, who are able to work, who are working, or who do not have sufficient work credits to be insured will be denied SSDI benefits. Work credits cannot be bought, borrowed or traded. They must be earned on your own work record.
Filing a disability claim
If you believe you meet the requirements outlined above you can contact the SSA either by phone or online (www.ssa.gov). Most claimants can complete an online application. If you decide to file in-person you will need to schedule an appointment.
Although the SSA can provide basic information for the application, they will not be available to help you complete the application process. If you need additional help you should contact a disability lawyer or a service which completes applications. Many claimants are also able to get help from friends and family members.
Will my SSDI claim be approved for benefits?
Most disability applications are denied. If your claim is denied you may be able to file an appeal. Information for the appeal should be sent with your denial letter, generally within 90 days from the application date.
Not all claims can be appealed. For example, there are denials, referred to as technical denial (i.e., you lack sufficient work credits) which are much more difficult to appeal. The only way to overturn an appeal for insufficient work credits is to prove the SSA did not have all of your employment information and you actually have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits.
Will I need a disability lawyer?
If you do decide to file an appeal you may contact a lawyer for more help. A disability lawyer can file all appeals for you, and if necessary, appear in court and argue your case.
Disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and are only paid if you win benefits. If you win you will pay the lawyer 25% of your back pay up to a maximum of $6,000. If you do not win your case you will not pay your lawyer (except if your lawyer requires fees for expenses related to your case).
Workers compensation and SSDI benefits
Workers who have been injured on their job and who have received or who are receiving workers' compensation benefits may also apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Consider, however, if you are currently receiving workers' compensation benefits and you apply and are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance your workers' compensation benefits may be reduced.
State laws are complicated and can vary by state. If you are receiving workers' compensation benefits talk to someone familiar with your state's laws before you apply for SSDI.