Policy Basics: Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance provides earned benefits for workers who can no longer support themselves through work due to severe impairments.
Social Security Disability Insurance is an integral part of Social Security. Workers contribute to SSDI and earn its protection in case they can no longer support themselves due to a severe and long-lasting disability. The Social Security Administration administers SSDI.
In June 2020, 8.3 million people received disabled-worker benefits from Social Security. Payments also went to some of their family members: 110,000 spouses and 1.4 million children.
SSDI benefits are financed primarily by Social Security payroll tax contributions and totaled about $145 billion in 2019. Thats less than 4 percent of the federal budget and less than 1 percent of gross domestic product. SSDIs share of the payroll tax is now 0.9 percent of earnings up to Social Securitys taxable maximum, currently $137,700. Benefits are paid from the SSDI trust fund, which is legally separate from the much larger retirement and survivors trust fund. The most recent projections estimate that the SSDI trust fund will need replenishment in 2065.
What We Mean By Disability
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if all of the following are true:
- You cannot do work that you did before because of your medical condition.
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings, and investments.
How Much Does Ssdi Pay In Benefits
If you manage you get through the application process and receive a favorable benefits ruling, donât expect a large check each month.
SSDI pays a monthly cash benefit based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security.
According to SSA, the average monthly disability paid by SSDI was $1,234 at the beginning of 2019.
Your benefit may be reduced if you receive workers’ compensation or other public disability benefits.
SSDI also pays disability insurance benefits to a disabled workerâs spouse and children. The benefits average about $350 a month.
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How Can I Apply For Ssdi Benefits
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is not difficult. You can apply online, over the phone at 1-800-772-1213, or make an appointment to apply in person at your local Social Security Office.
Before you submit your claim, however, it is paramount you have any available documentation. Not having the proper documentation to submit will delay your claim and is the most common cause of denial.
Once you submit your application, three things can happen:
- The SSA approves your claim and you begin to draw SSDI benefits
- The SSA denies your claim
- The SSA requests a consultative examination
If the SSA requests an examination, you must agree to undergo one if you want to receive SSDI benefits. This exam is key in proving the nature and extent of your disability and may include a physical exam and/or a mental status examination. We can help you understand what examiners are hoping to see in this exam based on your health history and the basis of your claim.
What Is Private Disability Insurance
Private disability insurance is purchased from an insurance company. It offers a monthly benefit equal to a percentage of your pre-disability salary if you experience a disability and cant work.
Youll only be covered if youve bought a policy before experiencing a disability. Disability benefits may be offered through your employer or purchased individually. If youre buying a plan on your own, your monthly premiums will be based on your occupation, age and health.
How does private disability insurance work?
How your policy works depends on which type of disability policy you choose. Insurers offer both short- and long-term disability options. Each type of policy also has its own definition of disability, like own-occupation or any-occupation.
The type of policy you buy will determine your monthly benefit amount. Short-term policies generally cover 60-80% of your pre-disability income and last up to 12 months, sometimes longer. In comparison, long-term policies cover 40-60% of your pre-disability income and can last up to retirement age.
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Social Security Disability Benefits
Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance are disability income benefits administered by the Social Security Administration that also provide Medicaid and/or Medicare health insurance to individuals who are eligible. The application process for SSI/SSDI is complicated and difficult to navigate. Nationally, about 37 percent of individuals who apply for these benefits are approved on initial application and appeals take an average of two years to complete.
For people who are homeless or who are returning to the community from institutions , access to these programs can be extremely challenging. Approval on initial application for people who are homeless and who have no one to assist them is about 10-15 percent. For those who have a mental illness, substance use issues, or co-occurring disorders that impair cognition, the application process is even more difficult yet accessing these benefits is often a critical first step in recovery.
Critical components of SOAR include:
- Serving as the applicants representative
- Collecting medical records
- Writing a medical Summary Report
- Conducting quality review
- Please contact a regional coordinator below to find your nearest SOAR Specialist:
How To Apply For Ssdi Benefits
You can apply for disability benefits in person, by phone, or online. Applying for SSDI assistance follows a general set of steps:
- Review the SSAs Adult Disability Checklist and gather all the necessary documentation.
- Complete and submit your application.
- Wait for your application to be processed by the SSA and sent to the Disability Determination Services office in your state, who will make a disability determination regarding your case.
The application process can be complicated and frustrating. You dont have to navigate it alone. Statistics prove that those who pursue Social Security benefits with the assistance of an attorney have an increased chance of approval. With legal guidance, you can present the most solid case for your eligibility and navigate the appeals process in the event that your application is denied.
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Is Your Condition Found In The List Of Disabling Conditions
For each of the major body systems, we maintain a list of medical conditions that we consider severe enough that it prevents a person from doing substantial gainful activity. If your condition is not on the list, we have to decide if it is as severe as a medical condition that is on the list. If it is, we will find that you are disabled. If it is not, we then go to Step 4.
We have two initiatives designed to expedite our processing of new disability claims:
- Compassionate Allowances: Certain cases that usually qualify for disability can be allowed as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. Examples include acute leukemia, Lou Gehrigs disease , and pancreatic cancer.
- Quick Disability Determinations: We use sophisticated computer screening to identify cases with a high probability of allowance.
For more information about our disability claims process, visit our Benefits For People With Disabilities website.
Differences Between Ssdi And Ssi
There are two types of benefits that an individual may be eligible to receive if they cannot work. It is important to be aware that these two benefits are very different, and people who need to apply for financial assistance because of an inability to work should understand which type to apply for before filling out any paperwork.
SSDI is a type of insurance that workers pay into through paycheck deductions. Since SSDI in considered to be insurance coverage that only applies to people who have paid for the insurance, SSDI benefits are only available to people who have work history. Eligibility requirements also dictate that people must work a certain number of years based on their age in order to be considered to be eligible.
Dependents of the individual who receives SSDI benefits may be eligible to collect benefits as well.
An applicants date of disability is key when it comes to applying for SSDI benefits. Individuals who are disabled are not eligible to collect benefits until five months after the date that their disability was diagnosed. However, this does not mean that disabled individuals cannot apply for benefits immediately after receiving a diagnosis. Applications take five or more months to be processed, so it is important to apply as soon as a disability diagnosis is received.
People who are eligible for SSI benefits are also eligible for Medicaid. Other assistance programs including food stamps may be available.
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Workers Earn Ssdi Benefits Through Work
SSDI protects over 156 million workers. To become eligible, beneficiaries must meet stringent criteria:
- Insured status. Beneficiaries must be both fully insured, meaning they have worked for at least one-fourth of their adult lives, and disability insured, meaning they have worked in at least five of the last ten years.
- Severe impairment. Beneficiaries must suffer from a severe, medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted for five months and is expected to last 12 months or result in death.
- Inability to perform substantial work. Beneficiaries physical or mental impairments must render them not just unable to do their own past work, but unable considering age, education, and work experience to do any other kind of substantial work. Substantial work, in 2020, means earnings of $1,260 a month , which is about 40 percent of the median earnings of a full-time worker with a high school diploma but no college.
Social Security Disability Insurance provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves due to a severe and long-lasting medical impairment.
Qualifying For Social Security Disability Insurance
Both American citizens and legal residents are eligible to receive SSDI. To qualify for SSDI, you need to prove to the Social Security Administration that you have a disability that may least for at least one year. In most cases, youâll also need to show that youâve been working for a number of years, and that youâre no longer earning income above a certain threshold because of your disability.
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How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
Once you are eligible and have gone through the screening process, and are 100% convinced you are eligible, you need to apply. You can easily apply for the service at the comfort of your home. This process is quickly done online.
After you have filled out the form, you need to check a while to check the status of your application. If your application goes through, theres a five-month wait period.
What Qualifies As A Disability
All disability insurance policies include a definition of disability, which explains the conditions you must meet in order to qualify for a benefit payment under your specific plan. In general, an injury or illness will qualify you for disability insurance benefits if you are either mentally or physically unable to complete your job, or if you have an impairment that substantially limits your ability to carry out basic life activities.
If you have to self-isolate because of the coronavirus and you cannot work, you could qualify for disability insurance benefits.
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Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security disability insurance is provided by the federal government through the Social Security Administration . You are only eligible if you have paid Social Security tax for a certain length of time, but it can be difficult to qualify for Social Security disability insurance benefits.
Social Security disability insurance has a very strict definition of disability â you must meet the requirements for total disability . According to the SSA, more than 70% of all disability claims were denied in 2017, and that number has only been increasing over the last several years . Even if you do qualify, it can take nearly two years before you start receiving benefits.
Social Security disability insurance also doesnât offer enough coverage for most people â the average monthly SSDI payment is $1,154.07 . If your total income is more than $25,000 for the year, you will also have to pay taxes on your benefits. The taxes owed increase depending on your income level .
Overall, Social Security disability insurance is only a safe bet if you canât afford long-term disability insurance.
Request A Hearing Online
If you disagree with the determination we made at the reconsideration level, you may ask for a hearing. An administrative law judge who had no part in the original determination or the reconsideration of your case conducts the hearing. You may request a hearing online.
When we schedule your hearing, we consider whats convenient and close for you. We usually schedule hearings within 75 miles of your home. In certain situations, your hearing may be held via video at one of our many available hearing sites, in person at one of our hearing offices, or from your preferred location.
After you submit your request for a hearing, youll receive a confirmation package that explains the hearing process. In that package, youll have the choice to opt-out of having your hearing by video. Video hearings have the same look and feel as in-person hearings. If youre comfortable with having your hearing either in-person or via video, you dont need to send in that form. Well find the first available day and time for your hearing, at a location thats convenient to you. Were committed to providing you quality customer service and the flexibility we offer with scheduling your hearing is just another way were able to meet your needs.
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Social Security Disability Programs
Disability Determination Services handles claims for long-term disability filed with the Social Security Administration. If you are not filing for Social Security Disability you may be eligible for Temporary Disability benefits. The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.
Likelihood Of Receiving Benefits
Considering all levels of adjudication, about 4 in 10 SSDI applicants are awarded benefits. Slightly more than 50 percent of applicants who meet technical requirements of eligibility are determined to be medically eligible.
The number of cases and percentage allowed at each stage of adjudication for all types of disability cases in fiscal year 2020 are as follows:
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Disability Application Starter Kit
To assist you in creating your application, Social Security has developed a Disability Starter Kit that provides information about the documents and information that you will be requested to provide. Because an application can be complicated and lengthy, this is a good place to start and to keep you organized. The kit also explains how Social Securitys disability programs work and what decision-making processes are used to determine your eligibility.
Will I Ever Lose Coverage Is This Time
Because Social Security Disability requires you to pay in, it can also expire. Think of it like an insurance policy the amount of money you pay in from your paycheck is your insurance premium. As long as you pay in, and have paid in for five of the last ten years , you are still covered by Disability Insurance benefits. Once you pass that date, you can no longer collect Disability Insurance so it may be in your best interest to act quickly! In order to collect Social Security Disability, you need to be found disabled before your date last insured when you still have enough quarters of coverage to be insured with SSD.
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My Condition Is Not Listed In The Blue Book Can I Still Receive Ssdi Benefits
While the Blue Book is a fairly comprehensive guide, by no means does it contain every ailment or disability that could keep a person from working. If you have a condition not listed in the Blue Book , you can still apply for SSDI. The main thing to remember is that you will need to provide substantial proof that your condition has rendered you unable to work.