Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits to disabled workers, disabled widow(er)s, and disabled adult children. In fact, over 10 million people received SSDI according to December 2017 SSDI records. Most SSDI beneficiaries (86 percent) were disabled workers. Over 50% of benefit recipients were age 50 or over. It is undisputed that this sprawling government program provides much-needed support to disabled workers in America. We could review statistics all day, but let’s instead focus on three important facts you need to know about SSDI.
Work Credits Matter
The Social Security Administration (SSA), manages the SSDI program. To qualify for SSDI, applicants must meet certain guidelines. Of course, to get disability benefits you must have a condition that qualifies as a disability, but the SSA also looks at your work credits.
But what are work credits and why do they matter.
Every year that you work and pay FICA taxes, you earn up to four work credits. Whether you earn the credit or not depends on how much you made. In 2019, a worker receives one work credit for each $1,360 earned.
The reason work credits matter is because your SSDI eligibility depends on whether you have accumulated enough of them. Workers over age 31 typically need 20 work credits earned within the past 15 years. However, the SSA employs a sliding scale to determine how many credits you must have. For example, someone age 23 likely needs six credits earned in the previous 1.5 years.
You Must Have Worked Recently
Yes, in addition to the number of credits, when you earned them is also crucial to a successful SSDI claim.
Here, again, the applicant’s age is used to determine how recently you must have worked. Two workers, age 53 and 61, both apply for SSDI. Both have earned 40 work credits. However, one person has not worked in the past 20 years. This person probably will be disqualified because they are required to have earned 20 of their work credits in the 10 years before becoming disabled.
Majority of First Time Applications Are Denied
If you are sitting there with a disability that prevents you from working, it may be unimaginable that your SSDI claim could be denied. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about 35% of disability claims are approved, leaving 65% denied. The two common reasons for denial are:
- Denied for medical reasons,
- Denied for technical reasons.
“Medical reasons” could mean that your condition is not considered a disability or that you need additional medical proof of disability.
“Technical reasons” could include mistakes on the application or failing to provide the right supporting documentation.
A Disability Attorney Can Help Every Step of the Way
For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security attorney, consult with an attorney at The Law Offices of Martin Taller. Call us at 714-385-8100. We assist clients through Southern California from our home office in Anaheim.