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What You Should Know About Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

dollars-1412644-mThe Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

SSDI pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security payroll taxes.

This is quite different from SSI which pays benefits based on financial need.

How is SSDI eligibility determined?

Eligibility for benefits is processed through the local Social Security Administration (SSA) and state Disability Determination Services.  Social Security representatives review applications for disability benefits in person, by telephone, by mail or by filing online.  They will review the applicant’s impairment, treatment sources, other information related to the disability as verifying non-medical facts like age, employment, marital status, or Social Security coverage information.

If a disability determination is made, SSA computes the benefit amount, and begins paying benefits. If the claimant was found not to be disabled, the file is kept in the field office in case the claimant decides to appeal the determination.

Benefits if disabled before age 22

Within the SSDI program, there is a particular child’s benefit that provides benefits for an adult disabled child:

If you are over 18 years old, not married and were deemed disabled prior to age 22, you may be able to qualify for monthly payments of Social Security Disability Insurance without having a work record.

This monthly payment is based on a parent’s social security record and will not impact benefits a parent is receiving.  Once a parent retires, becomes disabled or dies, a disabled adult child may also receive a monthly payment.

The adult disabled child must prove that

  • he or she is eligible for such benefit by showing he or she was disabled prior to age 22;
  • that the disability lasted 12 months or more;
  • and, that this impairment or treatment for the impairment caused the individual to be unable to perform substantial work.

SSA will also look at how much your impairment reduces your ability to function.  Although this is a benefit based on a parent’s social security record, social security administration deems this a “child’s benefit.”

Although SSDI and SSI are different programs, both provide monthly payments to help provide support to individuals with disabilities.

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