Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance policy that was authorized in 1956 under Title II of the Social Security Act. Overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the SSDI program provides monthly cash benefits to workers who can no longer work due to their impairment. SSDI covers workers that contributed sufficient funds into the system by paying Social Security taxes.

What are the qualifications to collect SSDI benefits?

Disabled workers must meet strict criteria to qualify for SSDI benefits:

  • You must have a medically verifiable disability that prevents you from doing work.
  • Your disability must have lasted or be expected to last a year or longer or result in death.
  • You must have enough work credits on your Social Security record.

How many work credits do I need to qualify for SSDI?

When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn “work credits” on your record. You can earn up to four credits a year. Credits rely on your total wages and/or self-employment income during each fiscal year. How many credits you need depends on the age you became disabled:

Age You Became Disabled

Work Credits You Need

Under 24 years old

You must have earned at least six credits in the three-year period before you became disabled.

24 to 31 years of age

You must have credits for working half the time between age 21 and the time you became disabled. “For example, if you become disabled at age 27, you would need credit for 3 years of work (12 credits) out of the past 6 years (between ages 21 and 27),” explains the SSA.

31 to full retirement age

20 credits out of the last 10 years

How much will my monthly SSDI benefit be?

The SSA calculates your benefit using your lifetime average earnings and a complex weighted formula. The average benefit SSDI recipients received in January 2017 was $1,171.25. The estimated monthly payment for 2017 according to the SSA is $1,171. The SSA expects a disabled worker with a spouse and one child to receive $1,996.

Workers with limited lifetime earnings whose SSDI benefit totals less than $735 may also qualify for an additional benefit called Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Do I need a lawyer to apply for SSDI?

Having a lawyer assist you makes the SSDI application process much smoother. A lawyer can explain the criteria, help you with the overwhelming amounts of paperwork, and assist with collecting the evidence you need to prove your disability to the SSA.

For a free consultation with a Social Security disability lawyer in Pittsburgh, contact Berger and Green today: 412-661-1400.