How to Qualify for SSDI Benefits

Losing your job as the result of a disability can be very tough on your finances and make it hard to find another job. If you find yourself without a job and are unable to work, then SSDI benefits can help.

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Over 10 million Americans receive Social Security Disability Insurance every month. This financial assistance can be extremely helpful for people with a disability and their families as more than 1.5 million children also receive SSDI benefits because they have a parent who is unable to work. This article will share more information on eligibility requirements, medical requirements and how to apply.

SSDI Eligibility Requirements

There are two main requirements you must meet in order to receive SSDI benefits. The first is that you previously worked in jobs that are covered by Social Security. The second requirement is that you have a medical ailment which meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability.

To meet the definition of a disability someone must demonstrate that they are suffering from a medical condition that is either long-term (more than 12 months) or permanent. This medical condition must prevent you from performing any work activities. If someone is able to adjust to other work despite their medical condition then they might not qualify for SSDI benefits.

Once somebody is able to meet these two requirements the next step is evaluating whether they have enough “work credits” to qualify for benefits. Between the ages of 31 and 40 you need 20 work credits, at age 50 you need 28 work credits and at age 60 you need 38 work credits.

Another way to think of how many credits you have is that you earn 1 credit for each $1,410 you have earned and you can accumulate up to 4 credits per year.

 Someone will maintain their SSDI benefits as long as their condition continues to make it impossible for them to work. SSDI benefit cases are reviewed periodically based on the medical condition that someone has and the likelihood that it improves.

How to Apply for SSDI Benefits

People should apply for SSDI benefits as soon as they lose their job as a result of their disability. This is because there is a six month waiting period before someone starts receiving SSDI benefit payments.

The most convenient way to apply for benefit payments is online. When submitting the online application you will need to provide information about your medical condition, your work history and your family members.

The online application is fairly straightforward and can be accessed here. If you are someone who prefers to talk over the phone you can also call 1-800-772-1213 to complete your full application over the phone. Expect the online and phone application to take somewhere between one to two hours to complete. If you apply online you can save your work and come back to finish it later.

The third and final option to apply for SSDI benefits is to visit your local SSDI office and submit an application in person. To find the nearest office to you please visit this website.

What Happens at Retirement Age?

People who are receiving SSDI benefits often wonder what will happen to their benefits when they reach the normal retirement age of 65. The good news is that your benefits will not stop.

Instead, your SSDI benefits will automatically become SS retirement benefits. The amount you receive will not change.

Can you Work While Receiving SSDI?

SSDI benefits are designed to replace the lost income resulting from someone’s inability to work. As a result, you are not able to perform substantial work while you are receiving SSDI benefits.

The government uses a threshold called “Substantial Gainful Activity” which means you cannot do any work that generates more than $1,260 of work per month. If you make more than this amount you will lose your eligibility for SSDI benefits.

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What to Do If You’re Denied SSDI Benefits

There are several reasons why someone might be denied SSDI benefits. These are most often because the government deems someone’s disability not severe enough to limit them from working.

If this occurs you can request and appeal and have your case heard one more time. In scenarios like this many applicants choose to hire a lawyer that way they get professional legal advice and increase the likelihood they qualify for these benefits.

A disability lawyer is an expert who is familiar with exactly what conditions qualify for SSDI benefits. He or she can search for relevant medical records and case precedents to increase your chances of success.