A Consumerís Guide to:
What are SSDI Benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program run by
the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides insurance to
covered individuals who become disabled and as a result, are unable
to work for a year or more. Generally, benefits continue until the
individual can go to work again regularly.
Who Can Get SSDI Benefits?
Unlike SSI, SSDI generally has no income, asset, or immigration
status requirements. Instead, benefits are paid to individuals who
meet the following criteria.
- They have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and
now have a medical condition that meets SSAís definition
of disability (the same definition used for SSI), which
requires individuals to prove they have medical problems
so serious that they arenít able to work.
- They meet the SSDI work requirements and have paid
premiums through their FICA payroll deductions, making
them insured and able to collect benefits;
- The wage earner is insured as are his or her dependents
- they can also be beneficiaries.
- Upon turning 65, SSDI benefits automatically turn into
retirement benefits and are paid at the same amount.
What are the SSDI work requirements?
||In general, to receive SSDI an individual must have
worked for 5 of the last 10 years before becoming
||More specifically, SSA counts work credits based on the
total yearly wages an individual earns. They count up to
four credits each year and individuals need a total of 20
work credits within the last 40 quarters to qualify.
||In addition to considering the time an individual has
worked, SSA will also look at how much theyíve earned in
determining their total work credits. In 2005, for
example, individuals earn one credit for each $920 of
wages or self-employment income. So, when someoneís
earned $3,680 in a year, they've earned their four credits
for that year.
||Younger workers may qualify for SSDI benefits with fewer
How much will I Receive in SSDI Benefits?
The amount of money an individual receives in SSDI benefits is
based directly on how much FICA tax he or she has paid through
their pay checks. In 2003, the average SSDI monthly benefit amount
How do I Apply for SSDI Benefits?1)
Online at www.ssa.gov;
Over the phone by calling 800-772-1213; or 3)
At your local SSA office.
Applications for SSDI can be done:
TIP: For more information on meeting the SSDI disability
definition, see the TAP
materials entitled, A Consumerís Guide to: SSI benefits.
Questions? Contact Health & Disability
Advocates, 312-223-9600 or www.hdadvocates.org
Page Last Updated May 23, 2022