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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial assistance to people with disabilities. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration for individuals who have a disability and meet specific medical criteria.

This program pays benefits to individuals and certain members of their family if they become disabled and have enough work credits, meaning that they have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

Learn more: Visit the Social Security website to find more about SSDI or download the pamphlet.

See Also: Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for SSDI, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Worked in jobs covered by Social Security.
  • Have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability.
  • Earned enough work credits to be eligible for Social Security benefits. Work credits are based on total yearly wages or self-employment income. Up to four credits may be earned each year.

The amount needed for work credits changes year to year. Generally, recipients need 40 credits to qualify for benefits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year they became disabled.

Learn More: Read Social Security's publication on How to Earn Credits.

Individuals are considered disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • They cannot do work that they did before.
  • They cannot adjust to other work because of their medical condition(s).
  • The disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

No benefits are payable for partial or short-term disability.

Types of services and supports that can be used for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The amount an individual receives monthly from SSDI is determined by how much that person has paid in Social Security taxes. This is called 'covered earnings,' which is averaged over the years the person has been working and becomes the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME).

The Social Security Administration applies a formula to the person's AIME to calculate how much in benefits they receive. The amount of money an individual receives is unique for everyone.

Learn More: Visit the Social Security account portal to check statements and review earnings history. Use the Social Security Benefits Planner Calculator to estimate how much in benefits can be received.

Apply

Participants can apply for Social Security benefits online, over the phone, or by visiting a local Social Security office.

Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Find a local Social Security Office here.

For tips on applying, see CTLaw.org website.


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