Law Offices of Terri D. Mason, P.C.


Your Ultimate Guide to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

happy loving bearded man and disabled woman of middle age smiling and using a tablet while sittingPeople work to earn a living, but many don’t think about what will happen if they suffer an injury or illness that makes it impossible to work. People going through that situation might wonder how they can make ends meet. The answer to this could be Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). 

Unfortunately, unless applicants have a condition on the Compassionate Allowances List, they’re unlikely to receive these benefits quickly. Anyone who’s going to apply for SSDI should have the assistance of a qualified attorney. The Law Offices of Terri D. Mason team is here to help people get the process moving forward.

What is SSDI?

SSDI is a program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Everyone who works in this country pays into SSDI as part of their Federal Insurance Contributions Act payments from their paycheck. It’s as FICA on most pay stubs. The employer matches the amount the employee pays to fund Social Security and Medicare. 

Receiving SSDI isn’t automatic. You have to apply for these benefits, and it can take a long time for the application to work its way through the process. Many people are denied benefits and have to undergo an appeals process to get their due benefits.

How Does SSDI Work?

Social Security Disability Insurance provides people with a monthly check. In 2022, the maximum benefit is around $3,345 per month. The federal government sets the maximum amount a person can receive, but only very high-income earners would qualify for the maximum amount.

The cost-of-living adjustment or COLA determines the benefit limits. When inflation is rampant, such as in 2022, the COLA will likely increase considerably for the following year.

There is a five-month waiting period from the date that you become disabled. This isn’t the date you filed for SSDI. Instead, it’s the date you became unable to work because of an illness or injury.

Eligibility Requirements For SSDI

To qualify for SSDI, you must be out of work for at least 12 months due to an illness or injury. Your doctor must verify that this is the prognosis for your case. The condition must meet the SSA’s definition of a disability to meet the eligibility requirements for SSDI.

You must have worked for 5 out of 10 previous years and paid into the system during that time. The SSA utilizes a work credit system to determine if a person qualifies for SSDI. Typically, a person needs 40 credits for their lifetime, with at least 20 earned in the previous 10 years.

Workers can earn up to four credits per year. You must earn a specific amount to get each credit, which changes yearly. In 2022, you earn credit when you earn $1,510 in earnings from work or self-employment. This means that once you earn $6,040 for the year, you’ve earned all four credits.

Benefits of Applying for SSDI

Besides the monthly cash benefits you can receive on SSDI, there’s another primary benefit you may need to utilize – Medicare. You have to wait for 24 months after you become eligible for SSDI before you can qualify for Medicare unless you’re over 65 years old or have a condition that provides a waiver.

How are SSDI Benefits Calculated?

SSDI benefits include your covered earnings in calculating. These are the earnings from jobs where you paid FICA taxes. The monthly amount you receive will base on your average indexed monthly earnings. There are online benefit calculators for people to determine how much they can get through the SSDI program.

How Can an Attorney Help?

Applying for SSDI can be very complex, so having an SS disability lawyer is beneficial. The vast majority of applications get denied at first. This opens the door for the appeals process. Every step in the SSDI application process has stringent time limits.

You can count on the SSDI lawyers in Maryland with the Law Offices of Terri D. Mason to help you throughout the application and appeals process. Our team understands how important it is for you to receive the benefits you need to make ends meet.