Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits


An unexpected physical or mental injury or disease can cause anyone to lose the ability to do their job. The Social Security Disability Insurance fund (SSDI) was established in 1956 to help individuals with physical or mental disabilities or a combination of disabilities that are so severe that they cannot do their regular job or any other substantial gainful work. If you have paid into the Social Security system, you likely have the right to make a claim for disability insurance benefits if you can no longer work.

Why Do You Need An Experienced Social Security Disability lawyer?


Many claimants are required to go to a hearing to prove their eligibility for disability benefits. At a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will consider the claim in light of the claimant’s age, education, work background and documented medical evidence. In considering the claim, the ALJ will consider thousands of pages of regulations in applying a five-step sequential process to determine disability. Our local experienced Social Security Disability lawyers have the knowledge, background and ability to assist a claimant in proving their case to the ALJ.

Are You Eligible?

Generally, to be eligible for SSD benefits, you must:

  • Be age 65 or younger
  • Have worked 5 out of the prior 10 years or earned 20 work credits
  • Meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

What Is a Disability?

The SSA considers you “disabled” if you suffer from a physical or mental impairment that:

  • Is medically determinable and prevents substantial work
  • Has lasted or will last for at least 12 continuous months or likely result in death.

Are Family Members Eligible?

If a worker qualifies for SSD benefits, dependents can qualify, too, if they are:


Leading Reasons for Disability Claims


How Do You Apply?

There are three ways you can submit your SSD benefits application:

  • In-person – Go to the local SSA field office
  • Phone – Call the SSA toll-free at (800) 772-1213
  • Online – Submitting your application online by going to

You will need to submit two documents:

  • Adult Disability Report
  • Disclosure Authorization Form

What Stages Will Your Claim Go Through?

If your initial application is denied, you may go through several stages of appeals. The following is a breakdown of each stage of a claim, with average claim processing time, percentage of claims allowed and denied in a typical year and outcomes at subsequent levels of appeal. “Exit” refers to an applicant no longer pursuing the claim. Claim processing time averages may vary.


What Benefits Can You Expect?

You can start receiving SSD payments on the sixth month of your disability. You will receive a benefits check (or direct deposit) each month as long as your medical condition does not improve and you can’t work. Benefits are taxable.

Average Monthly SSD Benefits


SSI is Supplemental Security Income. It is a program enacted into law in 1972. If you have below a certain level of income and resources, you may be eligible for an SSI disability claim. The test for disability is the same as Social Security Disability. The denial rates are also similar.


Disability Benefits, Social Security Administration (SSA)
Social Security Changes, Social Security Administration (SSA)
What You Need To Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits, SSA
Long-Term Disability Claims Review, Council for Disability Awareness (CDA)
Disability Statistics, CDA
The Social Security Disability Insurance Program, Congressional Budget Office

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