5 Things to Know About SSDI

social security disability insurance document

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits provide financial assistance to disabled workers and their family members. They can be a financial lifeline for people whose ability to work has been limited by a severe injury or illness. Here are some useful facts about SSDI benefits.

1. Workers Earn SSDI Coverage

To be eligible for SSDI, a person must have worked long and recently enough and contributed to Social Security through taxes on his or her earnings. The SSA measures these contributions in “credits.” The credits that a person needs to receive SSDI benefits depend on his or her age. SSDI replaces some of a person’s income when an injury or illness leaves the person unable to work.

2. The Payments Help American Workers Meet Basic Needs

The average monthly SSDI benefit was $1,280 in mid-2021. The amount helps a disabled worker who cannot work meet his or her basic needs.

3. How Disability Is Defined

To receive SSDI, a person has to be disabled. The Social Security Act is the law that governs SSDI. Under the law, one is considered disabled if he or she cannot work because of a serious medically determinable physical or mental condition that is expected to last or has already lasted at least 12 months or will cause death. The program does not offer partial or temporary disability benefits. Social Security also works aggressively to detect, prosecute and prevent fraud.

4. Beneficiaries Can Work Without Losing Their Benefits

SSDI beneficiaries can reenter the workforce. The SSA has work incentives that let people try working while still receiving monthly SSDI benefits. People can also get assistance with the education, training and rehabilitation they may require to work again. For example, under the Ticket to Work program, beneficiaries can get the support and services they need to go back to work for free.

5. The Right to an Attorney

A person has a right to representation by a disability lawyer when applying for SSDI benefits. Statistics show that applicants who choose to work with attorneys are more likely to be awarded benefits. Attorneys give applicants the best chance of qualifying for benefits by helping them gather the necessary documentation, correcting details to support a person’s claim, and keeping paperwork organized. They also help ensure that beneficiaries get all the SSDI benefits they earned through their tax payments.

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