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What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 28 March 2018
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Social Security Disability Insurance is a program in the United States that allows disabled people to have some income if they are unable to work. It is usually offered until their health has improved and they can work again, while those who can never work again will likely get this income until retirement age. This program is funded by taxpayers who are employed, as nearly every worker in the country has a percentage of each paycheck go toward SSDI. It is typically necessary for recipients to prove that their disability precludes them from working, either temporarily or permanently. They also usually must have worked at a job that qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance, which means that the employer took money from every check to help fund the program.

It is typically necessary for applicants of Social Security Disability Insurance to have worked at least five of the past ten years before becoming disabled, though applicants under the age of 22 are often able to waive this requirement. Applicants also need to be able to prove that they have a mental or physical condition that does not allow them to work, and that it will likely either last at least a year, or end in death. They can typically prove these facts by sending in their medical records with their application. If the claim is denied, it is sometimes advised that the applicant get proof that a reputable medical professional has deemed them disabled, or hire a lawyer to appeal the decision. It should be noted that applicants typically need to be under the age of 65 to get SSDI, as they can begin getting retirement benefits at this age.

The Social Security Disability Insurance benefits usually continue until the recipient is able to work again, at which time it is typically phased out once he is able to support himself. The typical recipient also often gets health benefits through Medicare until he can attain them through a job on his own. Benefits that continue while the recipient works are called work incentives, as they encourage those who can work once again to get a job when possible, with the possibility of SSDI supplementing their income until it is high enough to live on.

Recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance need to have been too disabled to work for at least five months before getting their first payment, but applicants should be prepared to wait longer than this in most cases since there is often a long waiting list of people hoping to be approved. Once someone is approved, any spouses or children who live with them may also receive some benefits. The amount they will receive is typically about half the amount that the recipient gets monthly, and it should be noted that even divorced spouses are often eligible for some benefits, though certain requirements are in place for them to qualify.

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