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How Social Security Disability Works

Many of us take our health for granted; we don’t think much about disability until something happens to us. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), “the chances that you’ll become disabled probably are greater than you realize.”

In fact, the SSA says that studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before he or she reaches full retirement age – a sobering statistic. That being said, we are going to explain how Social Security Disability works.

If you have further questions, specifically about your situation, don’t hesitate to contact our firm to speak with one of our attorneys. We deal extensively with SSDI and would be more than glad to help answer your questions.

How are disability benefits paid?

The SSA pays disability benefits to individuals through the Social Security Disability program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, however, these two programs are not the same. For the purposes of this post, we are going to explain the SSDI program.

The SSDI program pays disability benefits to individuals who cannot work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. Additionally, sometimes a family member can receive benefits from Social Security if their close relative is disabled.

Eligibility requirements for SSDI:

  • You must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability.
  • You must have worked long enough and paid into the system, meaning you must meet the “duration of work” test.

For example, if you are 30-years-old, you will generally need 2 years of work experience to receive SSDI benefits. If you are 42-years-old, you will need 5 years of work experience. If you are 60, you must have worked for at least 9.5 years during your lifetime.

What information will I need to provide?

If you intend to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to gather certain documentation for the SSA, such as: your Social Security number, your birth certificate, the contact information for your medical providers, the name of all medications you are on, your medical records, lab and test results, a summary of the type of work you did, and copies of your most recent tax documents.

Applying for Disability Benefits

When should I apply for disability benefits? We recommend applying as soon as you become disabled. It can take 3 to 5 months to process an application for benefits, so you want to begin sooner than later.

For more information about how and when to apply, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC!