The Basics of Social Security Disability

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During the Great Depression, Americans were forced to grapple with overwhelming challenges. Due largely to the financial crisis, a large portion of workers lost their jobs, families lost their homes, and people were forced to wonder where their next meal would come from.

The catastrophe that followed in the wake of the Great Depression prompted our leaders to rethink the role our government plays in protecting citizens from certain hardships. What if, many wondered, we could ensure that no matter how bad things became, we could offer our most vulnerable citizens a safety net against want and abject poverty.

There were many solutions offered by the government over the next couple of decades, including Social Security programs to ensure a basic income for those who most need it. While most people associate the term Social Security with the check people receive after they reach retirement age, Social Security Disability Insurance also offers monthly payments to people who are no longer able to work, so that they might still have some form of protection against financial ruin.

How is it Funded?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is funded by payroll taxes, which are paid by workers and employers and put into a Disability Insurance Trust Fund. All Social Security programs are funded by payroll taxes and, when compared to Social Security checks, SSDI accounts for a relatively small percentage of overall spending.

Who Can Receive SSDI?

To be considered for SSDI, you must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, meaning that you worked in a job in which payroll taxes were paid. You must also have a condition that meets the agency's definition of a total disability. This is a long list of conditions, including types of cancer, neurological disorders, musculoskeletal system disorders, immune system disorders and other disabilities.

The Social Security Administration must determine that you cannot work because of your condition and that the condition is either terminal or will last for at least one year.

How Much Does SSDI Pay?

The amount of money you receive can vary, depending on many circumstances, though the average monthly payment for an SSDI recipient is roughly $1,129. Contrary to popular belief, SSDI does not replace your income, and it does not always meet the financial needs of disabled Americans. However, it is a vital lifeline for many workers who have nowhere else to turn.

About the Application Process

Applying for SSDI can be a lengthy process in which you must demonstrate to SSA that your condition is serious enough to warrant benefits. Applying for SSDI typically takes longer than other Social Security programs, so it is best done as quickly as possible. You can begin the process by calling your SSA office or filling out an online form.

One of the best ways to maximize your chances of being approved is to enlist the help of an experienced SSDI attorney. They will know the process and be able to provide guidance. It is important to have an experienced advisor when applying for SSDI. Most SSDI applicants don't get approved and, though there are many types of appeals for a denied application, getting it right the first time around is in your best interest.

SSDI is not a cure-all for financial woes, nor is it guaranteed that a disabled person will be approved for benefits after they apply. Despite these shortcomings, SSDI is the last line of defense against the financial fallout associated with disability. These programs were born out of desperate times when Americans found out the hard way how bad things can get in the wake of life's hardships. Social Security is a great example of our nation's capacity to provide for the well-being of those who most need help.

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