Important Matters Relating to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

America’s working group is one of the reasons why this nation is a major economic force. Thus, to make sure that they will not suffer from poverty upon their retirement, the federal government passed the Social Security Act in 1935.

This Act first served as a form of social insurance and was originally intended as a financial source for retiring employees, many of whom suffered from poverty during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Now known as the Social Security Administration (SSA), two large federal programs aimed at providing financial assistance to people with disabilities have been created through it: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which SSA introduced in 1956, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which SSA created in 1974.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was specifically designed to pay cash benefits to Social Security members with total permanent disabilities and pensions to retired members aged 65 or above.

There are criteria that should be met in order for one to be eligible to receive cash disability benefits, though.  The most basic of these requirements include:

  • Having worked in a job covered by Social Security or by being self-employed; and,
  • Having earned the required number of credits required by SSA. An employee can earn four credits within a year. These credits are earned through payment of Social Security taxes (employees’ pay slips usually identify SS tax payments as “FICA,” short for Federal Insurance Contributions Act).

While members usually need 40 credits (earned after 10 years of work) to be considered eligible for disability benefits, employees who have only been a few years in work and, therefore, have earned fewer credits can also qualify. One very important thing any employee will have to know, however, is that even if they are eligible now to receive disability benefits (if they get permanently disabled), if they stop working under a Social Security-covered job and so stop earning credits (for a certain length of time), then they may no longer be considered eligible in the future.

Another important requirement for eligibility is, of course, total permanent disability. SSDI does not cover partial or short-term disability. Employees who sustain this type of disability can file their claim with their state’s Workers’ Compensation office if cause of the disability is work-related or with their personal health insurance provider.

Disability, as defined by the SSA (at least for SSDI purposes), means:

  • A condition that will render a person unable to perform the work that he/she did before being disabled;
  • The disability renders a person unable to perform any other type of work; and,
  • The disability may either last for at least a year or result in death.

Once an employee starts receiving the cash benefits, payment of benefit will only stop if:

  • He/She works at a level that the SSA considers as “substantial”;
  • If the SSA decides that his/her medical condition has improved to the point that he/she is no longer disabled; or,
  • If he/she turns 65 – if this is the case, recipient of the disability benefit will continue receiving the same amount of payment, only this time, it will be called “pension,” and no longer disability benefit.

An article posted at www.chrismayolaw.com/practice-areas/social-security-disability/, says that the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program provides financial support to those have become disabled by an injury or illness, and have met the required work credits. Additionally, children and spouses of deceased workers are often able to get disability benefits through this program. Unfortunately, though, it can be difficult to successfully go through the process of applying for and receiving this assistance on your own, a concern a highly-skilled Social Security Disability Insurance attorney may be able to help you with.