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Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a safety net to fall back on should you become disabled.  Research shows that a 20-year-old worker has a 30% chance of becoming disabled during his/her working life. You can apply for SSDI immediately after you become disabled; however there is a 5 month waiting period to receive benefits.  The paperwork and documentation are extensive, and the majority of claims are denied.  To get the best results, you will need professional legal help.

Social Security does not pay benefits for partial or short-term disability.  Social Security considers you “disabled” if all of the following are true:

  • You cannot do the work you did before
  • You cannot adjust to other work because of your disability
  • Your disability will last for at least one year, or will result in death

Some examples of covered disabilities are spinal injuries, visual impairment, hearing impairment, heart problems, epilepsy, autism, mental illness, blood disorders, immune system disorders, cancer, and many more.

If you are eligible for SSDI, you may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you have limited income.  Bernstein and Bernstein can help determine what benefits you are eligible for, and how to receive them.

There is no minimum age to qualify for Social Security Disability payments, however, you must have earned enough work credits (as determined by the SSA) prior to your disability to qualify.  The amount you are eligible to receive as Social Security Disability benefit is based on your lifetime earnings before your disability began.  It does not depend on the degree or severity of your disability.

Your family members may also qualify for benefits if you are disabled.  For example:

  • your spouse
  • your divorced spouse
  • your children
  • your disabled child

Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability rate, with the total benefit to the family not to exceed limits set by the SSA.

A widow/widower can qualify for benefits if he/she was married to the deceased worker for at least nine months just before the worker’s death.  However, the marriage length requirement is waived if you are the parent of their biological child, and certain other conditions listed by the SSA.

Benefits will continue as long as you cannot work.  Your case will be periodically reviewed to determine if you are still disabled.  If your disability status changes, you can file an appeal. Bernstein and Bernstein has the experience to help you get the benefits you deserve.

For more information on how to file for Social Security Disability, or appeal a decision regarding your Social Security Disability benefits, contact Bernstein and Bernstein.