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Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability

Millions of Americans thrive on pursuing the American Dream and take pride in supporting themselves and their families. Sometimes, however, people experience unforeseen and disabling events or circumstances that disrupt their lives and prevent or limit their ability to work. When this happens, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits may be available to replace lost income on a temporary or permanent basis, allowing you to preserve your financial well-being.

What to Expect

While the application process can be long and overwhelming, our goal is to HELP YOU MOVE as quickly and directly as possible to receiving your benefits. We excel at helping our clients get early awards, which means you often don’t need to go through every step to receive your benefits­

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program. A portion of the FICA taxes you pay while working are set aside for SSDI (as well as Social Security Retirement and Medicare). SSDI is designed to provide you with income if you are unable to work due to a disability or until your condition improves, and guarantees income if your condition does not improve. Then once you meet your retirement age – 65 or older – you move from SSDI to Social Security retirement income.

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability is different than other programs you may come into contact with through your employer or private insurance. The SSA pays only for total disability. No SSDI benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.

Eligibility for SSDI is based on your inability to work. You are generally considered disabled by the SSA if:

  • You cannot do work that you did previously;
  • It is determined that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

According to the SSA, studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 3-in-10 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age.

Current State of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Only a small percentage of the American population with disabilities will qualify for SSDI. About 3 million people applied for SSDI in 2013, but many of these were turned down. However, the number of people applying for and qualifying for SSDI has increased dramatically in recent years and will continue to do so in the near future.

A number of factors have created a large backlog in the processing of SSDI applications. For example, the average age among SSDI recipients is 53. Also, over the years new CONDITIONS, such as mental disabilities, have been acknowledged by the SSA and this has increased the number of people who qualify. In addition, SSA employees are retiring in large numbers and are not being replaced due to federal funding shortfalls.

The result is that both receiving and administering Social Security benefits has become extremely difficult for both those IN NEED OF benefits and for the SSA. Currently, more than 900,000 people are backlogged at the SSDI hearing level alone. In 2013, the wait time at the hearing level was 382 days. To see the average wait time in your area, check out the disability backlog in your home state. Though the SSA is working hard to cut through the backlog, improve its methods and add staff, those with disabilities who go at it alone will continue to face a complex and intimidating process – and long delays in obtaining the SSDI benefits they deserve.

SSDI Fast Facts

Year Established: 1954
Number of Employees: 62,543 SSA employees
(Sept. 2013)
SSDI Income: $117.1 Billion
SSDI Applicants Backlog:
Level 1: 698,972
Level 2: 266,324
Level 3: 903,720
Level 4: 161,070
Total: 2,029,114
Average SSA wait time
across all levels: 800+ days
Average Monthly SSDI
Benefit (2013): $1,148