Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
You may be eligible to receive benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured." This means that you worked long enough and paid taxes into the Social Security system. Your adult child may also be eligible for benefits under your earnings record if he or she has a disability that began before age 22.
Medical and other information will be collected when the government makes a decision about benefits. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration's website, a 20-year-old worker has a 30 percent chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age.
When determining if a person is disabled, the government uses five questions:
- Are you working? If you are working and your gross earnings are more than $1,010.00 per month, you generally cannot be considered disabled. If you are not working or your gross earnings are below $1,010.00 per month due to a medical condition, then SSA will go to the next question.
- Is your condition "severe"? Your condition must interfere with basic work related activities for your claim to be considered. If your condition is not severe, then SSA will not find you disabled. If your condition is severe, then SSA will go to the next question.
- Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? The regulations list impairment for each of the major body systems that are so severe they automatically mean you are disabled. If your condition is not on the list, then SSA has to decide if it is of equal severity to an impairment on the list. If your condition meets or equals one of the listed impairments, then SSA will find that you are disabled. If your condition does not meet or equal one of the listed impairments, then SSA will go to the next question.
- Can you perform the work that you did previously? If your condition is severe, but not at the same or equal severity as a condition on the list then SSA must determine if the condition interferes with your ability to do the work that you did previously. If your condition does not prevent you from doing your past work, then SSA will not find you disabled. If your condition prevents you from doing your past work, then SSA will go to the next question.
- Can you perform any other type of work? If you can not do the work that you did in the past, then SSA determines if you are able to adjust to other work. SSA considers your medical conditions, your age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills that you may have acquired. If you cannot adjust to other work, then SSA will find you disabled.
If you are found to be disabled:
- you will be eligible for Medicare health insurance or Medicaid, depending on the type of Social Security benefit
- you may receive annual cost of living increases
- you may receive tax advantages or receive your benefits tax-free
- you may protect any future Social Security benefits (with Retirement or Survivors benefits if eligible)
- you may quality for vocational rehabilitation programs or work incentives to get you back to work
- your spouse or children may be eligible for benefits on your record