What is Social Security Disability and How Does It Work?

Social Security Disability November 1, 2022 Nov 1 2022

FACT: Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

Disability insurance, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and short- and long-term disability insurance, can protect you and provide benefits to you if you become one of those disabled workers. Disabilities don’t always occur due to accidents. Major health issues can cause permanent disabilities, too. For this reason, it is helpful to know the basics of disability insurance.

Here are four reasons to hire a Personal Injury Lawyer when you have a serious injury.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program that offers benefits to workers who have a medical condition that meets the organization’s definition of disability. If you have worked and paid into Social Security via your earnings, SSDI benefits may be available to you if you become permanently disabled. The disability could be from an accident, injury, or illness, such as cancer or heart disease.

FACT: More than 10 million Americans received SSDI benefits at the end of 2016. Most of them were disabled workers. Some were disabled adult children and a few were disabled widows or widowers.

About Disability Income Insurance

While SSDI is a government program, other insurance products are available to supplement SSDI. Disability insurance or disability income insurance provides income to replace a portion of your wages if you’re sick or injured and unable to work. As part of their group insurance benefits, many employers provide short-term disability insurance and/or long-term disability insurance at no cost or low cost to employees. Short-term disability insurance usually covers 60 to 80 percent of your income for three to six months. Long-term disability insurance can provide 60 to 80 percent of your income for years, if necessary. These supplemental insurance policies can be helpful, because SSDI offers a very modest monthly benefit to recipients.

As with any insurance product, there are premiums to be paid and a definition of disability to be met. Benefits from these policies are usually paid monthly and have limits to how long you can receive benefits. You also have a waiting period after you become disabled.

Learn more about the types of disability insurance.


What Social Security Disability Benefits Can I Get?

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Calculate your Social Security disability benefits here.

Who Qualifies for SSI Disability?

It is important to know that only people who have worked in jobs that paid into Social Security or have medical conditions that meet the strict definition of disability are eligible to receive SSI disability benefits. The Social Security system is based on work credits that relate to your total annual wages. So, you must have worked recently and earned a certain number of work credits prior to the disability.

To be considered disabled, you must be unable to work for a year or more. SSDI is not a short-term program. It is for long-term disabilities only. This includes serious injuries and illnesses that make it extremely difficult or impossible for you to work.

Workers with enough credits aren’t the only ones who can qualify for SSDI. Other people who may qualify include workers’ children, spouses, former spouses, and divorced spouses (married 10+ years and over age 62).

Interested in learning more about the qualifications for SSDI?

Read Social Security Disability Benefits qualifications page.

Social Security Disability Attorneys Can Help

As you can see, Social Security Disability is somewhat complicated to understand because of the qualifications and calculations based on your work history. While you can apply online for SSDI benefits, you may want additional assistance with the application process. Rush & Nicholson attorneys specialize in SSDI and can assist you with your disability benefits claim by providing independent advice and decades of knowledge about the SSDI system.

When you need to file Social Security Disability claims or if your claim is denied, a disability lawyer from Rush & Nicholson can help answer your questions, sort out the paperwork, and pursue your benefits. Using our knowledge and experience with the Social Security Disability system, we go to work for you on a contingency basis, charging nothing unless we win your case.

To learn more about our Social Security Disability services and how we can assist you in getting the disability benefits you need, please contact us.

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