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Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

The Social Security Administration offers Social Security Disability Insurance to qualified individuals with disabilities that prevent them from working.  It is a federally funded program that was implemented for those who have accumulated a sufficient amount of work credits through work longevity and paying Social Security taxes.

Where does the SSA receive funding for SSDI?

SSDI is funded through Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) and social security taxes. 

How do I qualify for SSDI?

To qualify for SSDI, you must first have acquired a sufficient amount of work credits by working and paying Social Security taxes.  Second, you must also have a medical condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.

How does the Social Security Administration decide if I’m disabled?

It is important to note that Social Security Administration’s definition of disability is different from other programs.  They are governed by stricter guidelines and follow a step-by-step outline to determine if you are disabled and therefore qualify for SSDI.  The Social Security Administration uses these 5 questions to determine if you are disabled:

  •  Are you working?
  • Is your condition severe?
  • Is your condition found on the list of disabling conditions?
  • Can you do the work you did previously?
  • Can you do any other type of work?

The SSA does not grant benefits for partial disability or short term disability (a condition that lasts fewer than 12 months).  You are considered disabled under the SSA’s rules if you have a medical condition that is expected to last for 12 months or more and is preventing you from working your previous job or any other available jobs in the market.   Individuals with a medical condition that is expected to result in death within 12 months also qualify. 

How do I apply for SSDI?

You can apply online, in person at your local social security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213. If you decide to apply online you will need to print and review the Adult Disability Checklist located on the SSA’s site. You will then need to complete the Disability Benefit Application and the Medical Release Form. The application process can quickly become confusing which makes it very easy for you to make common application mistakes. Our team here at the The Disability Champions is here to guide you through the process of applying in order to increase your chances of success. All you need to do is fill out our free case review and we will take it from there.

How long does it take to receive a decision from the SSA after I apply for SSDI?

It is difficult to determine exactly how long it will take the SSA to make a decision on your claim, because the SSA does not have a set response time. However, there are several factors that that influence how long it might take, which are:

  • Your application status; whether you are at the initial stage or have appealed. The average wait time for each stage is as follows:
  • Initial Application – 3-4 months from the application date
  • Reconsideration – 3-4 months from the date you filed your request
  • Hearing with Administration Law Judge – 236 days – 499 days from the time a hearing is requested
  • Appeals Council – up to 1 year from the date you request your appeal
  • Federal Appeal – 8 months from the date you request your appeal
  • Your state of residence
  • The length of time it takes for you or your doctor to provide the necessary medical records
  • Whether your case has to be reviewed by other departments in the SSA
  • Whether your disability falls under the Compassionate Allowance Listing

How can I increase my chances of winning my SSDI claim?

There are several things that you can do to increase your chances of winning your SSDI claim, which include:

  • Verifying whether or not your physician or specialists will be supporting your disability case. If they are supporting your case, it   would be helpful to include a detailed statement from them stating why you are disabled and unable to work.
  • Ensuring that the SSA always has the most recent copies of your medical records at each stage of the application process.
  • Cooperating with the disability medical examiner assigned to your case, which includes being present at all medical appointments, and responding promptly to all letters and notices received regarding your case
  • Keeping up with the SSA on the status of your SSDI case to ensure that everything is going smoothly and that the SSA has all your documents. The Disability Champions will handle all communication with the SSA and notify you if any additional information is needed.
  • Meeting all deadlines for submitting documents and filing appeals.
  • Enlisting the expert representation of the The Disability Champions team to guide you through the application process.

How much will I receive if I am approved for SSDI benefits?

The amount you will receive for your SSDI benefits depends on the amount of Social Security taxes that you have paid over the years.  However, this amount may be decreased if you are receiving worker’s compensation, an uninsured pension or a public disability benefit. The average SSDI payment in 2014 is $1146.18

How long will my SSDI payments last?

Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, or “work incentives,” that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

What are the benefits of applying for SSDI?

Applying for disability benefits can be helpful for you and your family in the following ways:

  • It provides you with monthly income – SSDI will provide you with the monthly income needed to help support you and your family. SSDI can also act as a supplement to any current income such as workers comp, long term disability etc.
  • It increases your retirement and survivor’s benefits– You raise your potential to earn higher Social Security benefits when you retire if you qualify for SSDI because you suspend your Social Security earnings record during the period you’re disabled.You also omit the years you were unable to work from future benefit calculations.
  • You become eligible for Medicare – After receiving SSDI for 24 months, you automatically qualify for Medicare Part A (hospital benefits) and Part B (medical benefits) regardless of your age. You will continue to receive Medicare even after you return to work
  • It decreases your taxable income – Only half of your disability benefits are taxable which reduces the amount of taxes you are required to pay.
  • You are provided with assistance to return to work – The SSA generally gives you a trial work period which allows you to return to work while receiving your full SSDI benefits for 9 months.

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