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What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

As we discussed in a previous blog, there are two types of Social Security disability benefits that Americans may be entitled to, depending on their disability - Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. So what is Social Security Disability Insurance and how can I determine if I qualify?

The first thing you need to determine is whether your disability, which could be a serious illness, injury or mental condition, is severe enough that you can prove that you are unable to maintain gainful employment and that the condition will prevent you from working for at least a year, or that it is expected to end in death. Second, you need to determine whether you have paid into the SSDI program though previous payroll taxes.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must have earned twenty or more quarters of coverage over the last decade through payroll tax contributions. There is a 5 month waiting period following your application to allow for the administration to make a determination as to whether you qualify. This waiting period is not prorated; you will not receive coverage benefits during this time. After two years of SSDI coverage, you will automatically transfer over to Medicaid.

For more severe conditions, you may have your application expedited. Only disabilities listed under the SSA Compassionate Allowance list qualify for this. The list is available off the administration's website. There is a significant backlog within the administration, so it may be in your best interest to prioritize applying so that you can get coverage as soon as possible, assuming you are accepted. If your application is rejected, there is an appeals process that you may go through as well.

Source: FindLaw, "What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?" Accessed on Jan. 17, 2017

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