Eligibility For SSDI Benefits: How Do You Qualify?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are paid monthly to individuals unable to work due to disabilities or illnesses. In order to qualify you must meet Social Security’s eligibility criteria, which involves having a disability that meets a strict definition of what a disability is and having previously worked in an industry covered by Social Security.

As disabilities can come on suddenly and unexpectedly, SSDI benefits make it possible for individuals to continue to live comfortable lives despite their health problems. Supporting themselves financially is not something successful applicants ever have to worry about again.

To learn more, keep reading:

Working During the Claim Process

On average, it takes around six months for an SSDI applicant’s application to get accepted. You may then be wondering if you can apply for disability while working, as six months of unemployment could be too much for you to maintain a comfortable existence.

As long as you do not earn more than $1,310 per month and your impairment significantly limits your activities, work is permissible. You may come under more scrutiny than other applicants if you are working during the claim process, however, the SSA will want to know why you cannot work to support yourself.

Receiving Backdated Payments

You will be pleased to know that you can receive backdated payments of up to 12 months if it takes the SSA time to process your application. Delays are to be expected. On average, there is a six-month wait. If you plan on applying then it’s best to get your application completed as quickly as possible.

Call regularly to check up on your application’s process, as nagging can sometimes speed the SSA along. Try to get your assessment date scheduled quickly as well, as the sooner that is completed, the faster you will receive benefits.

Qualifying for SSDI

In the introduction to this post, reference was made to the fact that in order to qualify for SSDI, applicants must have worked in a job covered by Social Security. Applicants must have worked long enough – and recently enough – under Social Security in order to be eligible for benefits, otherwise, they will not have built up enough Social Security work credits.

A person’s work credits are based on their total annual wages. A maximum of four credits can be earned per year. As a general rule, you need 40 credits with 20 having been earned in the last 10 years. In certain situations, younger people with fewer credits can also qualify.

What Constitutes Disability

The SSA has a very strict definition of disability. If you do not meet it, you will not qualify for SSDI.

You will only qualify if you have a full disability, meaning you cannot work because of it and will not be able to adjust your job to suit your disability; at a minimum, your disability must last for at least a year. Applicants with disabilities that will last until their deaths are looked upon more favorably and are prioritized.

Benefits for Surviving Spouses

In the event of the death of a disabled person in receipt of SSDI, in some circumstances, their surviving spouse may be eligible for benefits. To qualify, spouses must be aged between 50 and 60 and have medical conditions that meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

Only disabilities that began before their deceased spouse’s payments ended or within 7 years of them ending will be eligible for the benefit. For spouses, the application process is more or less precisely the same as it is for disabled individuals – information can be found on the SSA’s website about how the process works.

Children With Disabilities

In special circumstances, children under the age of 18 with a disability that meets the SSA’s strict criteria can qualify for SSDI benefits. Generally speaking, SSDI benefits will cease when a child reaches 18 unless they are a full-time student.

Young people who were in receipt of benefits as a minor child on their parent’s original application may be able to continue getting benefits after their 18th birthday if they have a disability that renders them unable to work in adulthood.

If you are interested in making an application on behalf of a child then reach out to the SSA and find out whether or the applicant qualifies; the process is just as strict on children as it is on adults.

Telling the Full Truth

In an application for SSDI benefits, it is very important that applicants are honest. Telling mistruths can get individuals into a lot of trouble, however harmless they might think that they are.

It’s common for applicants to exaggerate their disabilities so they qualify for higher rates of benefits, but getting caught doing this can lead to arrest. Also, if you are found to be lying on an application it can be withdrawn and you can be blocked from applying again in the future. Benefit frauds are punished to the full extent of the law.

Help With Applications

Unless you have experience filling out complex government forms, the SSDI application will confuse you. Enlisting the help of a relative or loved one might be necessary. You can even pay a lawyer to complete your application for you.

If you have the money to pay a lawyer’s fees then this is something worth considering, as they will complete it diligently and with much more care than you will be able to.

Incorrect answers, poor formatting, or bad explanations can ruin your chances of getting the benefit, so if you need help ask for it. Make sure you are confident your application has been completed properly before submitting it. You cannot withdraw submissions.

Further Support and Guidance

As applications for SSDI can be very confusing, the SSA has helpful guides and articles on their website. In addition to providing online support, the organization also has dedicated phone lines candidates can call in times of confusion.

Suppose you are making an application for disability benefits while the SSA will not be able to give you direct advice, as each application is different. In that case, they will be able to give you a broad overview of what the process entails, and what’s expected of you. Get in touch with them if you are struggling with anything.

In times of hardship, the United States government does everything it can for its citizens, even giving them enough money to support themselves while out of work as disabilities can limit an individual’s ability to earn money independently; SSDI benefits are paid to such people, ensuring that they are able to live comfortable and healthy lives, free from financial worry – you can get help and support with your application online by working with an experienced lawyer or agency.

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