The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is a federal insurance program that provides benefits to workers who cannot work due to a disabling condition.
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, workers must have paid into the Social Security system through their payroll taxes and earned enough work credits. Workers can earn up to four work credits per year and generally need 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI benefits (with exceptions for younger workers).
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a five-step process to determine whether an individual is eligible for SSDI benefits:
- Is the individual engaged in a substantial gainful work activity?
- Does the individual have a severe impairment that affects their mental or physical well-being?
- If the answer to #2 is yes, does the impairment meet or equal a listed impairment? (Someone’s condition doesn’t have to actually be on the list SSA keeps of severe impairments to be approved, but merely be “as bad” as one that is.)
- Can the individual do the type of work they did previously despite their impairment?
- Can the individual perform other types of work despite their impairment?
If you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and your claim has been denied, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to receive benefits – it just means that you will need to appeal the decision. Claims get incorrectly denied all the time because the entire process is often rushed or made without adequate consideration of all the facts. Sometimes, they’re even made when information is missing. Experienced legal guidance can help.