Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program that pays benefits to you and certain family members if you are unable to work because of a disability. The SSDI program is one of the largest Federal programs that provide financial assistance to people with disabilities. However, benefits are only provided if you have worked long enough and you have paid Social Security taxes.
The eligibility requirements for SSDI are very strict, so it’s crucial that you have a good understanding of what is required of you before you apply. One requirement is that you must have a medical condition that meets the Social Security’s definition of disability. Also, it’s important that you understand the benefits of hiring a Social Security Disability attorney, and the steps involved in the application process. If you want to learn more about this program and how it may help you, read on.
Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
There are very strict Social Security Disability requirements that must be met in order for you to qualify for the benefits offered by the program. In particular, to qualify you must:
- Have paid Social Security taxes.
- Have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of a disability.
- Have worked long enough and recently enough to have enough work credits. The number of work credits needed vary depending on your age when you became disabled.
- Be unable to work for 12 months or more because of a disability.
Note: There are special circumstances that can qualify you for disability benefits as well. Because there are many different requirements, and some of them vary, it can be helpful to speak to an attorney to help you navigate the application process.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability
It’s crucial that you apply for SSDI as soon as you become disabled. There are three application methods available that you can choose from, as follows:
- Online: You can complete a Social Security Disability application online through the Social Security Administration (SSA) website as long as you meet basic eligibility requirements.
- In person: You may visit your local SSA office to complete an application in person. However, note that if you want to apply in person you must call and make an appointment ahead of time.
- By phone: To begin your application over the phone you can call the Social Security Disability phone number. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, additional assistance is available.
Differences Between Supplemental Security Income And SSDI
Many people get Social Security programs confused because both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pay benefits to disabled individuals. In most cases, the medical requirements to qualify for either program are the same.
Additionally, disability is determined by the same process in both programs. However, although they are both managed by the SSA and they have their similarities, they are both completely different programs.
The biggest difference between the two programs is that Social Security Disability benefits are only available to workers who have accumulated enough work credits over the past few years. Meanwhile, SSI benefits are available to low-income individuals who don’t have the work credits necessary to qualify for SSDI. SSI pays benefits based on financial need.
Social Security Disability Lawyers
When you file a claim for SSDI benefits, it’s highly advised that you enlist the help of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney. Although you are welcome to represent yourself during your claim, an attorney can save you a lot of time.
This can also reduce a lot of stress, as he or she has a better understanding of how the system works. Furthermore, hiring a lawyer can help you present your case in the best possible manner, in writing or in front of a judge, if necessary.
To see which attorneys are in your area, one option is to complete a quick internet browser search of: “Social Security Disability lawyers near me.” This will provide you with a list of lawyers that practice SSDI-related law in your city or other cities nearby.