When you become disabled and want to see if you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you need to be aware that it will take some time before you can be officially accepted. There is a filing process that you will need to go through before any payments are made, and most likely you will need to apply more than once.
Total Disability Is Required
Before you apply for the SSDI program, you should be aware that the Social Security Administration only makes payments to those who are totally disabled. For anyone who is partially disabled, or who has a short-term disability, you will not qualify for the program. Some other situations will be considered.
The Disability Must Be for More Than One Year
If you have recently become disabled, you will probably need to wait a full year before applying for the SSDI program. An alternative is available if your disability is expected to last a full year, or if it is expected to result in death. For disabilities that are short term, the SSA says that it expects families to be provided for by worker’s compensation or insurance, etc.
Your Income Is Limited
When considering a candidate for SSDI, the SSA will look at how much income you were able to bring in by working. If you were able to make an average of more than $1,040 in 2013, you do not qualify, and they will not consider you to be disabled. Also, the disablement will have to limit your typical work-related activities. Even if you have a severe condition, but if it does not greatly limit your ability to do what you did before, you will not qualify.
If, after you have been receiving SSDI payments you become no longer disabled, or if you decide to go back to work, your payments will stop. The Administration will review your situation from time to time to check on your status. Also, you are required to notify them of any changes.
You Must Have Earned Enough SS Work Credits
The Social Security Administration requires that any candidate for the SSDI program have worked in a job where you could earn work credits. Typically four credits are earned per year, and each credit is earned when you have earned at least $1,160 in wages (this amount may change annually). They will also look to see if you earned 20 credits in the previous 10 years prior to the disability.
Reaching Retirement Age
If you have been receiving disability payments and you reach your full retirement age, you will then start receiving your retirement benefits. For many people, this will be around 67 years old. If you choose to switch to retirement sooner, you will receive less in payments each month, but waiting will enable you to receive more.
The application process usually takes between three to five months to be accepted. It is not unusual, however, to have to apply more than once, so if you are rejected the first time, and still believe you have a good case, you should apply again.