Navigating Social Security Disability Insurance can seem like a daunting task. Many questions arise for those considering applying for SSDI or those who have just started the application process.
SSDI provides financial assistance to individuals who have worked in the past but can no longer work due to a severe and long-term medical condition. Here you can find answers to some of the questions that people often ask about SSDI.
1. What is the eligibility criteria for SSDI?
To qualify for SSDI, you must have a severe, long-term disability that prevents you from working. Furthermore, you must have earned a sufficient number of work credits. These credits reflect your contributions to Social Security throughout your working years.
2. What is the meaning of work credits?
Work credits represent your earnings. In 2023, for instance, you earn one work credit for each $1,640 of wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits per year. The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI depends on your age at the time you became disabled.
3. How does Social Security define ‘disability?’
Social Security defines ‘disability’ as an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. This impairment must last for a continuous period of at least 12 months or result in death.
4. How long does it take to receive benefits after approval?
Once you receive approval for SSDI benefits, there is a waiting period of five full calendar months. You will receive your first benefit for the sixth full month after the date Social Security decides your disability began.
5. Can you work while receiving SSDI benefits?
Yes, you can work while receiving SSDI benefits. However, you must not earn more than a certain limit, known as ‘substantial gainful activity.’ The limit for SGA changes each year. In 2023, it is $1,470 for non-blind individuals and $2,460 for those who are blind.
6. What happens to my benefits if my condition improves?
If your condition improves and you can return to work, Social Security has work incentives that allow you to keep your benefits and Medicare while you test your ability to work.
Navigating SSDI might be a complex task, but understanding the basics can help make the process easier.