SSDI: Know The Facts Before You Apply

Posted on: 20 October 2018

When a medical condition means having to leave to your job, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a solution for you. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government program that provides some workers with a monthly financial benefit. You can improve your chances of getting approved and perhaps reduce the wait time if you plan ahead. Read on for some useful tips on preps to take before you apply for SSDI.

Length of Disability

Make no mistake about it, SSDI is not meant to cover minor problems or medical issues that resolve in a few weeks or months. Consider the last day that you were able to work as the "look back" date. You must be able to prove that your medical condition:

  • Has affected you for at least a year from the look back date or
  • Is expected to affect you for at least a year into the future.

Determining how long into the future your condition might affect you is a job for a medical professional. The SSA will evaluate the time since your last day of work as the beginning of the one-year requirement. For example, if you have been out of work because of your illness for six months, your doctor needs to declare that you will be unable to work for at least six more months to qualify for benefits.

Length of Employment and Income Earned

The second important issue to understand before you file is work credits. Each paycheck you receive has Social Security deductions and these funds are set aside in the general SSA account. From that account are paid SSDI, SSI (Social Security Income) and your retirement benefits. To get paid these benefits, you must have worked long enough and earned enough work credits. If you have not accumulated enough work credits to earn SSDI benefits, you may qualify for SSI instead. You can track your benefits by registering at the SSA website.

A Qualifying Medical Condition

The SSA maintains a list of physical and mental illnesses and your condition must be mentioned to get benefits. This list is updated often as medical science evolves but not all conditions are mentioned on the list.

Laying the groundwork before you apply is vital. The SSA denies nearly every application they receive and the reasons are often due to one or more of the above issues. If you do get a denial, you will be offered the chance to an appeal hearing. Be sure to speak to a Social Security law firm for assistance with that appeal.