SSDI is a federal program that can help people who have become disabled by injury or illness and are unable to work to earn a reasonable wage. The disability can be long-term temporary or permanent, but it must be one of the recognized disabling conditions.
How to Qualify for SSDI
In order to qualify for SSDI, you must meet three conditions:
- Have a disability that prevents you from working for at least twelve months
- Have earned 40 work credits
- Have earned at least 20 work credits within the last 10 years
If you don’t meet these criteria, you will receive a technical denial for your SSDI application.
What Are Disabling Conditions?
Disabling conditions are injuries or illnesses recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as being severe enough to prevent a person from maintaining gainful employment. These conditions can be either physical or mental.
It doesn’t matter whether you have been told by your doctor that you are disabled, or are receiving disability payments from another organization or agency, the SSA will make its own disability determination.
Understanding Work Credits
In order to qualify for SSDI, you have to earn a certain number of work credits, which you do by earning income from work and paying FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax on that income. To earn a credit, you have to earn about $1140. You can earn up to four credits per year. If you are working part-time and earn about $8000 a year, you earn four credits that year. If you earn $16,000 a year or $100,000 a year, you still earn only four credits per year.
If you work two years earning $8000 a year, you earn 8 credits. If you work one year and earn $100,000, then don’t work the next year, you only earn 4 credits. What’s important is the years worked, not the amount earned.
Applying for SSDI
If you think you qualify for SSDI, you can apply online, apply by phone, or apply in person at your local office. Understanding the application process before you apply can help speed the process, as can hiring a representative.
Should You Hire a Representative?
An SSDI attorney can help you at all stages of your application. They can help you gather supporting documents and statements to make sure your application is complete before you apply. They can coach you over your testimony, go with you to hearings, which can be very helpful if you are not good at representing yourself, or attend a hearing for you if it’s hard for you to travel due to disability. An SSDI attorney can also help you prepare and organize an appeal should one be necessary. They can also help the process run more quickly at all stages.
With about 55% of all applications rejected, and some of them taking five years or more to resolve, anything you can do to improve your odds of success or speed up the process is good. Our SSDI attorney will also charge no fee unless he helps you get compensation, and we offer a free evaluation of your eligibility. Get your free evaluation today!