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Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Disability Benefits

This article tells you about Social Security Disability Benefits.  

Learn more about how to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, what to do if your disability benefits are terminated, and more.  

What is social security disability insurance (SSDI)?

SSDI is a federal benefit program that is run by the U.S. Social Security Administration. The program provides monthly payments to people who are now unable to work because of a disability. 

Who is SSDI for?

SSDI is for disabled workers who have worked and paid social security taxes on their earnings and for their dependents. 

How do you qualify for SSDI?

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked jobs covered by social security and have a medical condition that meets social security’s strict definition of disability. 

What is the social security definition of disability?

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. 

We consider you to have a qualifying disability under Social Security rules if all the following are true: 

  • You cannot do work and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of your medical condition. 

  • You cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition. 

  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. 

How does the social security administration decide if I have a qualifying disability?

They use a step-by-step process involving five questions to determine if you have a qualifying disability. 

The five questions are:  

  1. Are you working?  

  2. Is your condition “severe”?  

  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?  

  4. Can you do the work you did previously? 

  5. Can you do any other type of work? 

How can I apply for SSDI benefits?

There are several ways to apply for SSDI benefits. You can apply online by visiting the Social Security Administration website and getting your application started. You can also apply by calling 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and  7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to set up an appointment. You can also apply at your local social security office. To find your local social security office, use their office locator

What if my application is denied?

If you believe you qualify for these benefits and have been wrongly denied, file an appeal. You can begin the process by requesting a reconsideration

You should also find an advocate familiar with Social Security disability policy to represent you. 

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