Under the Social Security Act of 1935, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides a mechanism for disabled workers to receive monthly benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) administers this program, employing defined criteria to determine whether an applicant qualifies for SSDI benefits.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for SSDI?
In order to qualify for SSDI, there are two requirements – work credits and medical disability. We will discuss the parameters of each requirement below.
First, there is a minimum number of work credits needed to qualify for SSDI. Each year employees can earn up to four work credits by paying Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes that help fund Social Security and Medicare programs.
It is important to note that the required number of work credits changes based on individual circumstances. Specifically, the age at which the worker becomes disabled and unable to work plays an important role in the calculation process.
Second, SSDI requires applicants to have a medical disability that conforms to SSA guidelines. The disability must be severe enough to impact work duties. The disability must also be lasting, with effects tracing back at least one year. Lastly, the disability has to be complete, preventing the worker from completing “substantial gainful activity.”
What Happens if my SSDI Claim is Approved?
Even once approved for SSDI benefits, there is a five-month waiting period. After five months, the benefits start rolling in. If the approval process takes longer than five months, then approved applicants receive backdated disability checks starting with month six.
SSDI benefits do not always have a set end date. So long as the medical disability persists – in accordance with the SSA guidelines outlined in the previous section – then SSDI benefits remain available. Every three years or so, the SSA performs a continuing disability review to reassess the medical disability.
It is important to note that disability benefits are not always exempt from taxation. If the total household income exceeds certain thresholds, then disability benefits may be subject to taxation.
What Happens if My SSDI Claim is Denied?
Denial of a claim for SSDI is not necessarily the end of the road. Many initial applications are denied for one reason or another, often on the basis of technicalities. Applicants have a 60-day window to challenge rejected applications. Even further down the road, there is the possibility of appealing to a judge for a final review and determination.
Do You Need Legal Advice from an Experienced Social Security Attorney?
Whether you are dealing with SSDI, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or related matters, it can be a challenge to unravel all of the relevant rules and regulations. When dealing with such circumstances, it is advantageous to seek legal advice from a skilled social security attorney. With such an advocate in your corner, you will push toward a positive outcome for your legal case.
Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC and its sister firm, the Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group (RMDLG), have demonstrated skill and experience dealing with SSDI, SSI and related considerations. If you need legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. You can reach the attorneys at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC or RMDLG by phone at 866-476-4558 (toll-free) and 303-534-1958 (toll) or online by completing a simple form on our website.