What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a major US Government program to help those who cannot work due to a disability. It is administered by the Social Security Administration.

If you or a loved one cannot work, SSDI may be a program that can help you make ends meet.

How Do I Qualify for SSDI?

SSDI is like an insurance program for those who can’t work because of a disability. You only qualify if you have been paying your “premiums” in the form of FICA Social Security taxes.

There are two major requirements:

  1. You have a qualifying disability
  2. You have earned enough “work credits”

If you are unable to work but do not have a work history, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but probably not SSDI.

SSDI is also only for those younger than sixty-five who do not yet qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

Does my Disability Qualify for SSDI?

To qualify for SSDI, the answer to each of the following questions must be no:

  • Can you do the same job you did before?
  • Can you adjust to working in another job?
  • Are you earning more than $1180 per month (this is the 2018 amount, it rises slightly each year) from any work?
  • Will your disability last less than twelve months?

If the answer to any of those question is yes, you probably do not qualify for SSDI. But there are a few special circumstances.

Have I Earned Enough Work Credits to Qualify for SSDI?

The first step to knowing if you have enough work credits is to know what counts as a work credit.

You earn work credits during every year that you work. In a year, you can earn up to four work credits. Each year the Social Security Administration sets the amount that you must earn for each credit. In 2018 the amount is $1320. Once you’ve made four times the amount for that year, you’ve received the maximum four credits for that year.

Only income that you pay social security taxes on qualify.

So how many work credits do you need to qualify for SSDI? It depends on your age.

  • Under 24 years old, you need to have 6 credits in the last 3 years.
  • Between 24 and 31 years old, you need to have 2 credits for every year since you turned 21.
  • Between 31 and 42 years old, you need to have 20 credits in the last 10 years.
  • Older than 42 years old, you need to have 20 credits in the last 10 years, plus one additional lifetime credit for every year you are older than 42.

How do Family Members Qualify for SSDI?

If you are related to someone who qualifies for SSDI you may also qualify.

You usually qualify for SSDI if you are:

  • A dependant child or stepchild of a disabled worker
  • Spouse or ex-spouse caring for the child of a disabled worker
  • Spouse of a disabled worker who is over 62 years old and doesn’t qualify for Social Security benefits on their own

How much money do I get from SSDI?

The amount you receive from SSDI depends on the amount you paid into the system. The formula for figuring it out is complicated and changes every year. In essence, you receive most of the initial money you pay into the system, and a smaller percentage the more money you paid into the system.

The maximum SSDI payment in 2018 is $2,788 and increases each year.

You can look up how much money you have paid into your Social Security online.

Family members can receive up to 50% of a disabled workers monthly disability amount. The total paid to all family members cannot be more than 150% of the amount the disabled worker receives.

Need Help Applying for SSDI?

Call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to apply for the SSDI benefits. If you have questions about how to navigate applying for SSDI, or questions about what you qualify for, you’ll want to contact a Social Security disability lawyer. The Packard Law Firm is committed to helping individuals who are considering SSDI make the best decisions for them and their families. Reach out to us today.