According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 25 percent of Americans live with some type of disability.
Living with a disability can make it difficult, if not impossible to hold down a steady job, especially if the disability generates severe symptoms.
If you live with a mental or physical disability, you might qualify for a safety net program called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), SSDI provides financial assistance for Americans that have lost their jobs because they are mentally or physically unable to complete their professional responsibilities.
What is SSDI?
SSDI provides monthly payments to Americans that cannot earn wages because of the development of one or more disabilities.
The SSA establishes the guidelines that qualify Americans for financial assistance, as well as monitors individual cases to ensure the program remains financially viable by not paying disability benefits to workers that have experienced an improvement in the status of their symptoms.
Applicants must meet the severity of symptoms standards established by the SSA. Many of the diseases and injuries listed by the SSA to be eligible for financial assistance produce symptoms that improve in condition over time.
If you live with a disability, working with a Social Security attorney can help you receive approval for the financial assistance you need to live with a debilitating medical condition.
How Do I Qualify For SSDI?
The SSA refers to several criteria when reviewing claims for disability benefits. To receive SSDI assistance, you must demonstrate you have not worked for consecutive months.
For example, you cannot gain approval for an SSDI claim if you missed work for eight months, came back to work for six months, and then missed another six months of work.
In addition, the SSA denies a claim for SSDI benefits if you earn more per month than the minimum income established by the federal government agency.
Also called substantial gainful activity (SGA), the SSA has set $1,550 per month as the maximum amount of income you can earn in 2024 to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
You also must prove your medical condition lists in the SSA medical guide called the Blue Book. Not only must you show you suffer from a qualifying medical condition, but you also must prove the medical condition meets the severity of symptoms standards the SSA has listed for your medical condition.
For example, a cancer patient in the earliest stage of the disease might not qualify for financial assistance because the symptoms do not meet the severity of symptoms standards listed in the Blue Book.
How Do You Apply For SSDI?
You have three options when it comes to applying for SSDI benefits. The first option is to apply in person at the nearest SSA field office.
Applying in person ensures your claim receives prompt attention from the SSA. However, the SSA suspended the in-person option during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means you should know about the other two options in case the SSA must close local field offices once again.
You can apply over the phone by calling 800-772-1213 or by accessing the SSA website.
Working with an Attorney
Because the SSA denies a majority of SSDI claims, you should consider working with an attorney who specializes in handling cases that involve applying for disability benefits.
Your lawyer helps you submit the most persuasive medical evidence, as well as monitors your claim as it moves through the SSA review system.