About Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Most people do not realize that a twenty-year-old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before retirement. If you have a medical condition or other physical ailment that prevents you from working, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can pay benefits to you and your family and offer compensation for lost wages and medical bills.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has outlined certain criteria that must be met to qualify for disability benefits. First, your previous job must have been covered by Social Security and you must have earned enough work credits. If you did not pay a Social Security tax while working or have not worked five of the last ten years in full-time employment, it is quite probable that you will not qualify for benefits. Second, no benefits will be paid for short-term or partial disability. You will be considered “disabled” by the Social Security Administration if:
- You cannot perform your previous occupation
- You cannot adjust to another line of work because of your medical condition(s)
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year
When deciding whether an applicant is disabled, the Social Security Administration utilizes a five-step process.
- Are you currently working?
a.If you are working at the time of your application for disability, you will not be considered disabled. If you are not presently employed, continue to Step 2.
- Is your condition “severe?”
a.To qualify for disability benefits, your condition(s) must “interfere with basic work-related activities.” If this is the case, continue to Step 3.
- Is your condition listed in Social Security’s List of Disabling Conditions?
a.If your condition is found on Social Security’s List of Disabling Conditions, you automatically qualify to receive benefits. If your condition is not listed, proceed to Step 4.
- Can you perform the work you did previously?
a.If your condition interferes with your ability to perform your previous line of work and is not listed on Social Security’s List of Disabling Conditions, it will be considered of equal severity, thereby qualifying you for benefits. If this is the case, continue to Step 5.
- Can you adjust to another line of work?
a.Even if you cannot perform your previous occupation, the Social Security Administration decides whether you can adjust to another line of work in accordance with your age, past work experience, and education. If it is determined that you cannot adjust to any other type of gainful employment, your disability claim will be approved.