Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides income support to those completely unable to work due to a disability. Despite the benefits of SSDI it has certain limitations that must be taken into consideration when preparing to apply for and be on the program. Being aware of these disadvantages will help you to manage your family's budget during the time you are disabled.
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Proof of Disability
Unlike other government programs SSDI does not give benefits for partial disability. You must be completely unable to work because of your condition in order to qualify. This means you must be unable to perform the work you had been doing, and be unable to adjust to new work. Your disability must also be severe enough to be expected to last at least one year or to result in death.
Past Work History Required
You must have earned 40 Social Security credits in order to qualify for SSDI coverage, and 20 of those credits must have been earned within the past 10 years. A credit is also called a "Quarter of Coverage" by Social Security and is accumulated at a a maximum of four per year based on your earnings. The amount you need to earn in order to get one credit changes every year according to the national average wage index. In 2010, this amount was $1,120. This means that annual earnings of $4,480 would earn you four credits. No matter how much you earn in one year, you can earn no more than four credits.
Delay in Benefits and Case Reviews
Benefits do not begin until you have been disabled for at least five full months. This means you will not receive any SSDI payment until at least your six month of being disabled, and possibly longer. You will be notified of the start date of your benefits and the benefits amount when your application for SSDI is approved. Once benefits begin they last as long as you are disabled, however, your case will be reviewed regularly to ensure that you do in fact remain disabled as long as you are still on SSDI benefits.
Benefits Can Be Taxed
Benefits are taxable if your overall income is above a certain amount. In 2010, that amount was $25,000 for an individual and $32,000 for a couple. The Social Security Administration estimates that about one-third of SSDI recipients pay tax on their benefits.