According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 20-year-old employee bears an average 30 percent probability of suffering disability before reaching SSA full retirement age (FRA). Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) eligibility was originally designed to pay the worker what he or she paid into the Social Security system over a working lifetime.
SSDI isn’t a benefits savings account. Social Security Administration uses a complex model to calculate the disabled worker’s benefits based upon employment history. Typically, older workers with a longer work history have paid Social Security taxes over a longer period. If the older worker’s Social Security Disability income application is approved, he or she typically receives a higher monthly SSDI payment than the younger disabled worker.
SSDI is intended to offer financial support to disabled working people who’ve paid into Social Security over the years. Many Social Security beneficiaries have dependent spouses and/or children, and SSDI benefits are designed to soften financial hardship that workers face when the primary wage earner can’t work.
SSDI pays monthly benefits to eligible individuals who cannot work because they’re suffering from a serious injury or medical problem that their physician believes will last 12 months or more or in death. SSDI isn’t a short-term benefits program and, if the claimant presents a partial disability or an ailment from which doctors believe he or she can recover, SSA probably won’t approve the request for benefits.
To satisfy SSDI eligibility requirements:
- The claimant must be over the age of 31.
- He or she must have worked at least five out of the past 10 years before the onset of disability.
- At minimum, the claimant must have paid into Social Security at least two years (cumulative total), depending upon his or her age.
Social Security Code considers a broad range of physical and/or emotional medical conditions as potentially disqualifying impairments. Hypertension, arthritis, heart failure, and asthma are examples of common medical conditions that may qualify the SSDI eligible claimant.
Disabling emotional or mental conditions, such as clinical depression, may also qualify as the individual for SSDI benefits. However, in all cases, the suffering individual must have lost his or her ability to earn enough money for the basic needs of life. He or she must present qualifying impairments with substantiating medical documentation from qualified health care providers.
Because a Social Security beneficiary isn’t able to perform work they did before the onset of a disability or serious illness doesn’t mean they are totally disabled and unable to perform another type of work:
- If the disabled person can perform another type of gainful work, he or she is expected by SSA to do so.
- The claimant isn’t eligible for SSDI benefits until he or she earns less than Social Security’s Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold. SSA publishes the annual SGA threshold amount each year.
- When attempting to assess the claimant’s ability to perform another type of work, SSA considers his or her education level, physical capacity, and mental state.
The claimant’s monthly SSDI benefits payment depends on his or her employment history. For that reason, it’s important for all Social Security beneficiaries to review the Social Security Statement at least once per year.
Most Social Security beneficiaries say the my Social Security Account page on SSA.gov is the most convenient way to monitor and review Social Security records. It’s important for each working American to review the earnings information on the Social Security Statement because, according to Social Security Administration, a three percent error rate exists.
Review and report any errors on the Social Security Statement immediately because, whether applying for retirement benefits or Social Security Disability income, SSA uses earnings information to calculate benefits for the beneficiary.
Not all working Americans enjoy current SSDI eligibility. For instance, if he or she receives worker’s comp or another form of government-related disability benefits, or outstanding felony arrest warrants, Social Security Administration won’t approve SSDI benefits.