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SSDI is for individuals with sufficient work credits whereas Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for those who have insufficient work credits.  Both programs have the same qualifications for disability, but those who qualified for SSI must have limited financial resources that do not exceed $2,000 a person (or $3,000 for a couple).  Unlike the five month waiting period for SSDI benefits, SSI payments may be available during the waiting period since the benefits can be collected the month after the application is filed.


The Social Security Administration’s Definition of Disability


SSDI is not like the disability program provided by your workplace or bought individually through private insurance carriers. SSDI only provides benefits if you are totally disabled and unable to work in your current job or any other job for at least a year because of your disability. The Social Security Administration will determine whether your disability fits into their criteria and award or deny benefits accordingly.


Basis of Benefits


The amount of benefits you receive is based on certain Social Security disability requirements such as the number of work credits you have earned which is based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income.  The age you become disabled will determine the number of credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits. The older you are the more work credits you need; younger people may be able to fulfill SSDI qualifications with fewer credits.  In general, whatever your age is you would need to have earned a certain number of work credits by the time you become disabled.


SSDI Determination Process


Once your disability and work credits show that you can qualify for benefits, SSDI appointed doctors and medical specialists will ask your doctors, hospitals, and other medical institutes you are connected to about your condition, particularly how your condition relates to your working ability. You may be required to undergo more medical tests, if necessary.


Blind people undergo a special process of SSDI evaluation for their benefits. The working credits and other criteria may be more relaxed for the blind and visually impaired.


Benefits to Family Members


Your family members are also entitled to receive disability benefits if your application is approved. Your spouse can receive benefits if she/he is 62 and above. Your spouse can also receive benefits if she/he is caring for your child under 16 years of age. A divorced spouse may also be entitled to benefits from their formerly disabled spouse under certain circumstances.


A widow can receive benefits on behalf of their deceased significant other if the deceased was disabled as early as the age of 50 provided the disability started before or within 7 years of the death.


Benefits for Military Service Members


Military service members are entitled to receive expedited processing of disability claims if they suffer from a disability acquired while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001. They are eligible for both SSDI and Social Security Insurance (SSI) provided they meet the qualifying criteria.


Please note that your disability benefits may be affected if you are receiving benefits from other government aid programs.


What if you are Denied your Claim?


If your initial social security claim is denied, you can make an appeal to the SSDI program within 60 days. DisabilityUnited can help you with the appeals process by providing a Social Security disability benefits advocate free of charge to represent your case.


If you are filing for SSDI benefits and need help filling out the forms, please don’t hesitate to contact our free services.


Call us now or fill in the free disability evaluation form to know whether you qualify for SSDI. An advocate who is specialized in Social Security disability cases will contact you within 24 hours.