Social Security Disability Insurance, also known as SSDI or simply SSD, is a program handled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides monthly benefits to approved applicants given certain requirements. The purpose of this program is to help regular employees and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because of a medical condition.
Eligibility for disability benefits under this program depends on the following criteria that the SSA will look at in an applicant's disability claim:
Work creditsThe SSA has its own table of work credits relative to the age in which the applicant became disabled. If the applicant is old enough, his or her work credits will add up to qualify for benefits. The SSA determines that amount of work credits the applicant has by conducting two tests, namely the “recent work test” and the “duration of work test”.
Medical eligibilityThis is the foundational criteria that will determine the likelihood of the applicant receiving SSDI benefits. The applicant must have severe, long-term disability for him to become eligible for benefits. The SSA follows its own definition of disability, wherein the applicant must have a medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or would result to death.
Substantial gainful activity(SGA)When an applicant has a total disability, it is obvious that it has already affected his duties as an employee or an earning worker. Having such disability means that he or she is unable to perform SGA for at least a year. The SSA must see in one's claim that he or she earns lower than $1,010 (2012 SGA amount) to be determined disabled.
Once the applicant's claim gets approved by the SSA, he or she has to wait for five months from the onset date of disability, or the date the SSA thinks he or she became disabled. After five months, the first monthly payments, along with back pay due because of the waiting period, will be received by the applicant on the sixth month.