Is SSDI for you? Find Out the Requirements and How to Apply

Are you struggling with a disability that’s impacting your ability to work? Don’t worry – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) could be the lifeline you’ve been searching for.

SSI offers benefits, including essential income support and healthcare coverage to eligible disabled or elderly individuals. But before you dive in, it’s crucial to grasp the requirements and application process.

Getting Started With SSDI

In order to find out of you qualify for SSDI benefits, you need to be aware of the requirements and the application process. To help you get started, we’ve compiled essential information about SSDI you need to be aware of before applying. 

  • Do you fall under the Social Security definition of disability? 

To fall under the Social Security office’s definition of disability, your medical condition must be considered severe, long-term, and permanent to receive financial assistance. 

You can find more information about this in one of the sections below. 

  • Determine if you have worked enough to meet earning requirements

To determine if you have worked enough to qualify, you will need to pass two different types of work tests. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses these tests to measure how many years you have paid into the Social Security system by working and paying taxes based on your age. 

For example, if you are under 24 years of age, you would need to have worked at least a year and a half before turning 21 to pass the test. 

  • Gather your application materials

To submit your SSDI claim, you will need to provide:

  • Proof of identification
  • Financial records
  • Doctor’s contact information
  • Medical records
  • Apply within the appropriate window of time

The SSA has specific guidelines concerning when you can start to receive disability payments. It is important to note that you have to be disabled for five months before you can receive any payments. However, you should still apply for SSDI as soon as you become disabled because it could take a while for your claim to be processed. 

Applying for SSDI

You can apply for SSDI benefits in a few different ways. The easiest option is to apply online on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) official site. You can also call the SSA’s National Number (1 (800) 772-1213) to apply by phone or to make  an appointment to apply in person.

To complete your application you will need the following information about your identification, income, and medical history: 

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Contact information for your doctor
  • Dates of your medical visits
  • Medical test results 
  • Your most recent W-2 or federal tax return.

Application Process

While processing your application, the Social Security Administration will: 

  1. Evaluate your current work activities. 
  2. Decide if you pass the work tests. 
  3. Contact your doctors to ask about your condition.

Be aware that it may take a while for the government to process your SSDI claim. Learn more about when the best time for you to apply for disability cash benefits is in the next section. 

Best Time to Apply for SSDI

The short answer for when the best time to apply for SSDI benefits is – as soon as you become disabled. 

This is because processing your application can take a long time depending on how many applications the SSA receives. 

If your first application for SSDI benefits is denied, don’t worry. Many applicants are not approved the first time that they apply for SSDI benefits.

You are also unable to receive SSDI benefits until you have been disabled for five full months. 

This means that even if your claim was processed and approved the first month that you became disabled, you will not start receiving your SSDI payments for 4 more months.

In the case your claim takes longer than 5 months to process, you will still receive back payments starting with the 6th month of your disability. So, even if your application takes time to process, you will never miss out on a payment as long as you apply before the 5-month mark. 

What Meets the SSDI Definition of a Disability?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), your disability must be severe, long-term and permanent. But what does that mean exactly? 

We have a brief explanation of each of these terms below to help you understand the SSDI criteria a little bit better. 

Severe – This means that your disability prevents you from doing the job that you did before. It must also prevent you from being able to do another type of work. 

In general, this means that your disability renders you unable to perform basic work functions such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting or remembering.

Long-term –  This means that the disability must be medically diagnosed to last at least a year, or potentially result in death.

Total – This means that you are unable to do work that earns a liveable wage. 

There are also additional income requirements that individuals with disabilities must meet in order to apply.

As of 2024, those applying for SSDI cannot make more than $1,550 in income per month. If you are blind and applying for SSDI, you cannot make more than $2,590 per month. 

We hope this information has helped you prepare for the SSDI application process.

By Admin