What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Working is a necessary part of life for most people. When you work, you bring in a source of income. This income is what you will use to handle daily living expenses like rent, groceries, or a car note. However, sometimes things can get in the way of work, like a disability. When people become disabled, they may not be able to perform activities they could before. You should know there is support available. One opportunity is Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).

Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the part of the federal government that offers this program. Through SSDI, recipients (and qualifying family members) can get benefits as long as they are eligible. To get benefits, the applicant will need to be “insured.” To be considered “insured” an applicant must:

  • Have paid Social Security taxes on what they have earned
  • Have an eligible history of work

Application Process for SSDI

Applying for this program isn’t as complex as it may seem. There are plenty of different ways that a person can apply for SSDI. This includes doing it over the phone, online, or even in person!  You can expect the application process to go like this:

  1. It will be important to get relevant documentation together to apply. If you want to know the information you may need to provide, you can use the Adult Disability Checklist. This list is available thanks to the SSA.
  2. Make sure to do a final review of your application before you submit it with your documentation. You want to make sure all the information is accurate!
  3. After you submit your application, the SSA will need to do a review. During this review, they will look to see if you meet the minimum qualifications for disability support.
  4. Once the SSA is done with your application review, they will send it over to the Disability Determination Services office for your state.
  5. The Disability Determination Services office has the responsibility of reviewing your application to make a disability determination. This should come as no surprise since it’s in the name!

Information for Your Application

Remember how we said you will want to review the Adult Disability Checklist to confirm what information you should expect to provide? Well, some of the information that you can expect to see on that list include the following:

  • Date and place of birth
  • Spousal information (former or current, if applicable)
  • Marriage information (former or current, if applicable)
  • Social Security number
  • Children’s information (if they are younger than 18 years old, if applicable)
  • Contact information for a person that is up-to-date on your medical condition(s)
  • Medical condition(s) information
  • Financial information
  • Employer information
  • Relevant job history (for up to five jobs over the past 15 years)

How Much Can SSDI Provide?

The exact number that people will be able to benefit from will vary depending on their current situation. However, the average monthly disability benefit for 2024 is $1,537! Just keep in mind that it can be more (or less) than that amount based on what you’re dealing with.

When Will You Be Able to Receive Your Benefits?

There is a waiting period that comes along with this program! It will generally take five months before a recipient has the ability to receive their payment. The first payment will come in on the sixth full month after the disability date. The disability date is the one that the SSA determined!

What Medical Conditions are Eligible for SSDI?

Not every medical condition will be eligible for SSDI support. Only medical conditions that are considered total disability can qualify. Disabilities that are short-term or partial will not. For a disability to be considered total, it must:

  • Result in the applicant being unable to take part in any substantial gainful activity (SGA)
  • Result in the applicant being unable to work
  • Last one year or be expected to last one year
  • Be expected to end in death

There are plenty of different conditions that qualify! Some specific medical conditions that qualify include the following:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Epilepsy
  • Different forms of cancer
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Dermatitis

Alternative Support to Keep in Mind

While SSDI is a great support opportunity, there are other options to keep in mind. Some alternatives to consider include the following:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Another popular opportunity for people in need is SSI. This is a program that can help those that have limited income and resources as long as they are either disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old. Individuals that qualify for this program can expect monthly payments worth up to:

  • $943 for an individual
  • $1,415 for a couple

If you are someone that has a disability, then you can expect the application process to be similar to how it is for SSDI. However, just be mindful that you can still qualify for this opportunity even if you don’t have a disability!

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Groceries are an expense that people need to deal with in some way, shape, or form. It is important to know what support is out there. The government created SNAP to help qualifying recipients get support with the cost of groceries. SNAP will provide funds onto an Electronic Benefit Transfer card (EBT) every month. These cards with funds can then be used at locations that accept them as a payment type. They can only be used to purchase qualifying grocery items.

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

The last opportunity on this list is Section 8 housing. This housing assistance program can provide housing vouchers to eligible applicants. These vouchers can be used towards the cost of housing expenses in the private market. However, the vouchers can only be used at properties that accept them. Not only will the properties need to accept the vouchers, but they will also need to pass an inspection done by the local Public Housing Authority (PHA).

Bottom Line

Having a disability is challenging to deal with. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be able to benefit from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program is designed to help those with a disability that have a qualifying work history. On average (for 2024), it can provide a monthly payment of $1,537 to those that qualify. Besides this support opportunity, other options that may be able to help those in need include:

Whatever you are dealing with, you will want to make sure you know what’s out there. You may find that there is more relief than you realize. If you are interested in SSDI, you will want to reach out to your local Social Security office. You can reach out to the SSA or review their online platform for more information!

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