Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) ?

The United States government's Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) program is a federal insurance program financed by payroll taxes. It is administered by the Social Security Administration and created to offer monthly benefits to those with a physical or mental handicap that limits their capacity to work.

People who have worked and paid into Social Security are eligible for SSDI, a federal disability insurance payout. If you are "insured," the SSDI program will provide payments to you and certain family members. This indicates that you have paid Social Security taxes on your wages and worked for a sufficient amount of time and recently. Only those with disabilities that prevent them from working are eligible. Your SSDI application might be handled more quickly if you have cancer.

Americans with disabilities can get financial assistance through the government income benefits program known as Social Security Disability Insurance. Adults who have worked but are now unable to do so owing to a condition are eligible for SSDI, a federal program that provides disability income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) states that generally, payments are given to people who are unable to work for a year or more due to a disability. To those who qualify, monthly payments are made.

People who are disabled and have a history of qualified employment are supported by SSDI, either through their own job or that of a family member (spouse/parent). SSDI is an earned benefit, thus in order to be eligible, you must have contributed to the program in the past and have accrued sufficient credits. Credits are based on prior employment. Since SSDI is a form of disability insurance, eligibility is established through an application procedure and is based on the SSA's medical requirements. A disabled worker must have held occupations that were covered by Social Security in order to be eligible.

History of SSDI

As a component of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal reforms, Social Security was first implemented in the 1930s. At first, it primarily offered retirement payments; disability and health insurance followed in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI), from which SSDI payments are made, was formed in the 1950s to collect money under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA).

How Does Social Security Disability Insurance Work?

SSDI is a Social Security benefit for people with disabilities who are unable to work. In order to be eligible, applicants must strictly adhere to the definition of disability, and their medical condition must be anticipated to last at least one year or result in death. SSDI is not available for temporary or partial disabilities.

The amount of SSDI paid is dependent on lifetime average earnings from Social Security-covered employment, and eligibility is determined by work history. The number of calendar quarters worked and the age at which the disability started are used to calculate how long applicants must have worked in Social Security-eligible occupations.

Additionally, recipients must be US citizens or, if they were not born in the US, have legal immigration status. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers online benefit estimators that can be used to estimate how much a person will likely receive. After two years of receiving payments, SSDI recipients are also automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Depending on your income, SSDI benefits may or may not be taxed.

SSDI only provides full benefits and only in circumstances where the disability is anticipated to last at least one year or result in death. It does not offer partial or temporary payments. The SSDI program in the United States has stringent eligibility requirements compared to disability programs in other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations.

People who cannot work for a year or more due to a disability generally receive monthly cash benefits from SSDI. The Social Security Administration will then continue to provide benefits until it conducts a review, known as a redetermination, to determine whether your kid still requires disability payments.

Each person will receive a different amount from the SSDI disability benefit each month depending on their employment history and annual income. It's crucial to remember that while receiving lawsuit settlement money from a private insurance company won't affect your child's SSDI benefits, receiving worker's compensation and other state disability benefits may.

Key Facts of Social Security Disability Insurance

  • Citizens who are unable to work due to a chronic or severe medical condition are given monthly income support under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
  • The maximum SSDI payout for eligible people in 2022 is anticipated to be $1,358 per month.
  • An individual must have paid into the SSDI program through payroll tax deductions in a job that is covered by Social Security, have worked recently enough, and for long enough to qualify, in order to be eligible.
  • Although Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SSDI are different programs, some people may qualify for both.

Who is Eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance ?

Anyone who thinks they fit the qualifications for a Federal Disability may apply. If you are unable to work due to a medical condition, your family members may also be eligible for assistance. Generally speaking, the following requirements must be satisfied in order to be eligible for SSDI:
  • At least 18 years old.
  • Their Social Security record shows that they are not already receiving payments.
  • Have not had a disability claim dismissed during the previous 60 days.
  • Due to your medical condition, you are unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
  • Due to your condition, you are unable to perform the type of work you did in the past or engage in any other kind of labour.
  • Your ailment has lasted at least a year, is projected to last at least another year, or will cause your death.
  • Have had jobs with Social Security benefits.
  • Possess a medical condition that qualifies for disability under Social Security's rigorous guidelines.
  • There is a restriction on how much you can earn from work, but there is no limit on unearned income for Social Security disability insurance.
The severity of the disability and employment history are factors in eligibility. In order to be eligible, you typically need to have worked in Social Security-eligible employment for at least five of the previous ten years (or have 40 credits, of which 20 were earned in the most recent ten years), ending in the year your impairment started. Some applicants might be qualified with less credits, usually with younger workers.

Note that individuals who are blind, widows or widowers of employees, children with impairments, and veterans have unique considerations and slightly modified eligibility requirements.

You can apply for SSDI on behalf of your spouse and any eligible children if you meet the requirements and begin receiving it. Look into Supplemental Security Income if you find that you are disabled, have limited finances, and don't meet the requirements for SSDI (SSI). Disability benefits may also be paid under this scheme, although they depend on your income and needs.

It could take less time to get approved if you have certain critical conditions, such some forms of cancer. People who have a diagnosis that is on the Social Security Administration's list of Compassionate Allowances may be eligible for a quicker evaluation of their disability petitions.

In accordance with the foregoing, the state agency uses these five questions to reach its conclusion, going through them in chronological order:

Are you working? 
If the answer is yes and your average monthly income exceeds a specific amount, you will typically not be regarded as having a disability. The sum is also known as substantial gainful activity, and it varies yearly (SGA). If not, or if your income is below the SGA cutoff, the agency proceeds to stage two of the review process.

Is your illness considered "severe"?
According to the SSA's definition, you must have a handicap for at least 12 months in order for your capacity to do basic work tasks to be seriously impaired. Walking, sitting, standing, lifting, and remembering are some of these. If not, your impairment won't be taken into account. The organisation advances to evaluation stage three if your condition meets these criteria and is deemed severe.

Does your medical condition match or correspond to one listed?
The SSA makes use of a list of ailments that was compiled after consultation with medical professionals. These ailments are thought to be severe enough to make it impossible for someone to do work-related activities. If your disease matches or is comparable in severity and duration to one listed ailment and its requirements, the state will utilize this list to evaluate whether you have a disability. In the absence of this, the state moves on to step four of the assessment.

Can you perform the same duties as before?
In light of your current medical condition, this phase of the evaluation assesses whether you can carry on with any of your prior job. The state will decide that you do not have a handicap that meets the requirements for SSDI if your medical condition does not preclude this. The review moves to stage five if your medical condition does make it difficult for you to perform past work duties.

Do you have any other kind of employment?
In the final part of the review, the state takes into account your age, education, prior work experience, and talents to determine whether you can perform other sorts of work. You won't be eligible for SSDI if it is determined that you are able to perform alternative work. They will determine that you have a qualifying handicap if they discover that you are unable to perform other work.

How Is Your Disability Determined in SSDI ?

The Social Security Administration will examine the data you send as follows:
  • Your application will be examined to make sure you satisfy the minimum requirements.
  • Review of information provided by doctors, hospitals, and clinics concerning your medical condition, including the date it began, any effects, and the treatments you have had.
  • Check to see whether you can perform any other kind of work.

According to Social Security regulations, you are deemed disabled if:
  • Because of a medical issue, you cannot work.
  • Work from the past cannot be done.
  • We determine that due to your medical condition, you are unable to adapt to other work (s).
  • Your incapacity has persisted for at least a year, is predicted to do so, or will cause your demise.

Benefits of SSDI

  • Your lifetime average Social Security-covered earnings determine how much you will get each month in benefits.
  • Benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program are provided beginning six months after the disability began, but no earlier than 12 months before the application.
  • A claimant gets their monthly payments either on an SSA Direct Express Card or immediately deposited into their bank account.
  • Your spouse and children who have not yet graduated from high school are also eligible to benefit from your SSDI account.
  • You can receive Medicare benefits if you've been receiving SSDI for 24 months.
  • Additionally, you might be qualified for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

How Much is Social Security Disability Insurance ?

How much SSDI you receive will depend on how long you worked and how much FICA (commonly known as Social Security tax) was deducted from your income. Once you submit an SSDI application, the disability clock begins to tick.

Your total yearly earnings or revenue from self-employment are used to calculate your Social Security work credits. Up to four credits may be earned annually.

Each year, the quantity required for a work credit varies. For instance, in 2024, you would receive one credit for every $1,730 in salary or self-employment income.

Depending on your age when your condition first manifests, you may require a certain amount of work credits to be eligible for disability benefits. In most cases, you require 40 credits, 20 of which must have been acquired in the last 10 years, ending with the year your handicap first manifests itself. Younger employees, however, can be eligible with less credits.

Refer to How You Earn Credits for further details on your eligibility.

The earnings in a Social Security-covered job of the retired, disabled, or deceased father determine the monthly benefit levels for handicapped adult children, and the earnings of the deceased spouse determine the monthly benefit amounts for disabled widows.

The SSA's benefits calculator can be used to calculate an estimate of your disability benefits. You can also contact your local Social Security office to get assistance calculating your benefits.

Remember that regardless of your age, you must have accrued the necessary number of work credits within the time frame concluding with the beginning of your incapacity. You might not be able to continue to meet the disability work requirement in the future if you are now eligible but stop working for Social Security.

Determination of the quarter of coverage amount for 2024

Calculation details

Amounts in

1978 earnings for one QC


1976 average wage index


2022 average wage index



$250 times 63,795.13 divided by 9,226.48 equals $1,728.59, which rounds to $1,730

Higher amount

$1,730 exceeds the amount for 2023, so the earnings needed to earn one QC in 2024 is $1,730

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is possible online. It could be a good idea to gather all the necessary paperwork in advance; Social Security offers a comprehensive and useful checklist.

You can submit an application for Social Security Disability Insurance online at or in person at any Social Security office. Additionally, you can apply over the phone at 1-800-772-1213 or in person at a Social Security office near you. On Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., a toll-free "TTY" number, 1-800-325-0778, is available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Make an appointment with your local office if you want a Social Security representative to help you with your application.

If you think you could be eligible for SSDI, get the application process underway as soon as possible. The majority of claims are initially rejected, and since there is such a large backlog of cases, the appeals process can drag on for months or even years.

You typically receive your first benefit payment six months after the Social Security Administration determines that your disability began if your disability application is granted. After receiving SSDI benefits for two years, you will also be qualified for Medicare.

Check SSDI Status

You can use your own my Social Security account to check the status of your application online. Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, if you are unable to check your status online.

Keep in Mind :
  • You cannot already be receiving any Social Security benefits on your own earnings record and you cannot have had a claim for disability benefits denied within the past 60 days if you want to submit an online application.
  • Your age has no bearing on your SSDI compensation, in contrast to retirement benefits. Your payment is calculated as though you had achieved full retirement age if your disability claim is approved (the age at which you can receive 100 percent of the benefit you are entitled to, based on your earnings history).
  • A limit on labour income that is adjusted yearly in accordance with national salary trends serves as the definition of "substantial gainful activity." You cannot get SSDI benefits if you are making more money, with the exception of trial work periods and other initiatives meant to aid SSDI recipients in returning to the workforce.

SSDI Application Process

The following standard steps make up the application process :
  • The applicant gathers the information and paperwork needed to submit the application. On their website, the SSA includes a checklist that can help with this procedure.
  • An application is filled up and submitted by the applicant.
  • To ensure that the work and disability requirements are met, the SSA evaluates the application. The SSA will get in touch with the applicant if more information or supporting documentation is needed.
  • Following processing, the application is forwarded to the applicant's state's Disability Determination Services office.
  • The state agency makes the decision about the application's viability. A letter with the decision is mailed to the applicant.
  • Within 60 days of obtaining the ruling, an appeal may be made in writing.
  • This is crucial since most claimants must wait five months before receiving their first SSDI payment even if their application is approved. As a result, according to the application, the first payment would be made six complete months from the day the impairment started.
  • The Social Security Disability Benefits pamphlet has more details on SSDI.

What Document Need to Apply for SSDI ?

  • Social Security number
  • Birth certificate
  • Names, contact information, and dates of all visits to doctors, caseworkers, clinics, and hospitals.
  • Your doctors', therapists', hospitals', clinics', and caseworkers' medical records.
  • A duplicate of your most recent W-2 Form or, if you're self-employed, your most recent federal tax return.
  • Test outcomes, pathology reports, and laboratory results.
  • A brief description of your workplace and the type of work you accomplished.
  • Medication dosages and names.

SSDI Payments Schedule

Benefits are paid in the following month; for instance, the benefit due in January 2022 would be paid in February 2022. Benefits have been paid on the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of each month since June 1997, depending on the beneficiary's date of birth:
  • 1st to 10th day of birth, paid on 2nd Wednesday of the month
  • 11th to 20th day of birth, paid on 3rd Wednesday of the month
  • 21st to 31st day of birth, paid on 4th Wednesday of the month
If the planned payment day, Wednesday, falls on a valid federal holiday, the payment will be made the first following non-holiday day.

The person whose Social Security number is connected to the benefit program's payment schedule is the one whose birthday is used to determine the payment schedule. They will share the same payment day if multiple recipients of payments related to a single claim are dependents of disabled insured individuals, for example. Beneficiaries of SSDI who received payments at that time still follow the same payment schedule because payments were made on the third of every month prior to June 1997.

Disability Starter Kit

Access the Disability Starter Kit, which includes information about the precise documents and information that will be sought from you, to help you prepare for your disability interview or assist you complete the online application. To remove some of the uncertainty surrounding the application procedure for disability payments, the kit also offers general information about the disability programs and the selection process.

Every Disability Starter Kit includes :
  • When filing for disability payments, most people have questions. A information sheet addresses these topics.
  • a list of the records and details we will need.
  • You can use a worksheet to compile and arrange the data you'll need for your disability interview or to fill out the online forms.

How to Appealing Denied SSDI Claim ?

Understanding the SSDI Appeals Process and SSA Disability Appeal contain crucial information on appealing decisions made regarding your disability claim or the amount of your payout. Reapply if you're denied SSDI, and if required, file an appeal. After an appeal, a lot of instances become allowed.

You have the option to challenge any determination of your eligibility for benefits. After receiving the decision notice, you have 60 days to file a written appeal request. Four levels of attraction exist:
  • Reconsideration.
  • An administrative law judge will hear the case.
  • The Appeals Council's review.
  • Review by a federal court.
A beginning point for requesting a review of the decision if your application was recently denied is to submit an internet appeal.

Contact SSDI

  • Online, go to
  • To find out if you qualify for any Social Security benefits, including SSDI, visit
  • Find the Social Security office closest to you.
  • Call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213, (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
  • Call the SSA at TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you have hearing loss or are deaf.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is difference between SSDI and SSI programs?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), although SSI offers monthly payments to persons who fall below a specified income and resource criterion and does not base eligibility on employment history. If they meet the financial requirements, people 65 years of age and older who do not have a handicap are also qualified for SSI. Instead of coming from Social Security levies, SSI is financed by general tax income.

What modifications will the SSDI make in 2022 ?

The largest COLA since 1982 will be applied to all Social Security monthly payments for claimants in 2022, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The maximum SSDI payout for eligible people in 2022 is anticipated to be $1,358 per month.

The maximum taxable income for taxpayers increased to $147,000, meaning that all income up to that level is subject to the Social Security tax, which will continue to be 6.2% in 2022 as it was in 2021. For 2022, the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level for recipients who are not blind increased to $1,350 per month (up from $1,310 per month in 2021) and to $2,260 per month (up from $2,190 per month in 2021).

When You Should Apply for SSDI ?
  • When you become disabled, submit an application. For approval, 3 to 5 months may pass.
  • After being handicapped for five consecutive calendar months, you start receiving benefits. For any of those five months, you won't get compensated.

How is disability defined by Social Security?
The Social Security Administration has a stringent definition of disability that takes into account both your capacity to work and the anticipated duration of your incapacity. You must provide medical records to back up your application. You cannot receive SSI or SSDI benefits if you have a temporary or partial disability.