What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), also known as “worker’s disability” or Title II benefits, is a government program that pays workers a monthly stipend if they become disabled before retirement age. The insurance program was put into effect in 1965, thirty years after the passage of the Social Security Act.

Monthly payments are based on a person’s average indexed monthly earnings, and the typical payment averages a little over $1,100 a month. The highest benefit payment possible is currently about $2,700. Social Security Disability is managed by the U.S. Social Security Administration and funded by payroll taxes.

Who is eligible for SSDI?

In order to be eligible for Social Security benefits, you must meet the following three criteria:

1. You must have worked in a job covered by Social Security. So, for example, if you have worked as a pastor who is exempt from paying into social security, you would not be covered by SSDI. Most jobs are, however, covered by Social Security.

2. You must have a medical condition that Social Security deems as “disabled.” If you’re able to work and are earning more than $1,220 a month, you won’t be considered disabled. If you aren’t working, or you can’t work much, Social Security will consider whether your condition is severe enough to qualify. The administration maintains a list of medical conditions on its website. The Social Security Administration will also consider whether you can do the work you used to do or if you can be hired for another type of work.

3. You must have worked recently and worked long enough to qualify for SSDI. This is determined by your age and the number of “work credits” you have earned, which are calculated based on yearly wages.

How do you apply for SSDI?

It is important to apply for SSDI as soon as you become disabled. There are three ways you can begin the process to apply for disability benefits:

1. Visit your closest Social Security office in person.
2. Call 1-800-772-1213.
3. Visit the Social Security website and complete the online application.

When you apply, make sure you have the following information available:

• A list of medications you are taking and their dosages
• The results of any medical labs or tests you may have taken.
• Contact information for any clinics, doctors, or hospitals that have taken care of you and the dates you visited.
• Proof of age
• Your social security number
• Your most recent tax form and W-2

Once you have received a reply from Social Security, if your claim is denied, you will still have a chance to appeal the decision.

More information:

For more information on social security disability, or to apply online, visit: