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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for a Social Security benefit, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for Social Security purposes. Disability benefits are payable to:
• Blind or disabled workers
• Adults disabled since childhood, who are otherwise eligible
The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.
When you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family also may qualify for benefits on your record. Benefits may be paid to:
Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability rate.
To qualify for benefits, you must first have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then you must have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability. In general, they pay monthly cash benefits to people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability.
Benefits usually continue until you are able to work again on a regular basis. There are also a number of special rules, called "work incentives," that provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help you make the transition back to work.
You must have worked long enough--and recently enough--under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.
Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four credits each year.
The rules for how much work you need to qualify for disability benefits are as follows:
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. You are considered disabled under Social Security rules if:
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. If you are ready to apply now, you can:• Complete your application online at: www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability
• Fill out the Adult Disability Report form online at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/radr/radr-fe
• Call the toll-free telephone number 1-800-772-1213
• If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call TTY 1-800-325-0778
• Call or visit http://www.ssa.gov/locator your local Social Security office
Claims for disability benefits take more time to process than other types of Social Security claims -- from 3 to 5 months.
You can help shorten the process by having certain information and documents with you when you apply, and by getting any other medical evidence you need to show that you are disabled. Here is the kind of information you should have:
• Your Social Security number and proof of your age
• Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics that took care of you and the dates of your visits
• Names and dosages of all the medications you are taking
• Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers, that you already have in your possession
• Laboratory and test results
• A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did
• Your most recent W-2 form or, if you were self-employed, a copy of your federal tax return.
• Social Security numbers and proof of age for each person applying for benefits
• Proof of marriage, if your spouse is applying for benefits, as well as dates of prior marriages if applicable