SSDI benefits may be a vital lifeline for disabled workers. On average, the monthly Social Security Disability Insurance benefit is $1,234 in Jan. 2019. However, beneficiaries may receive a monthly benefit that is less or more than this amount. Benefits are calculated on a worker’s average lifetime earnings. Payments are not based on household income or the severity of the disability.
A worker should apply for benefits as soon as they become disabled. There is a mandatory five month waiting period after the disability began before benefits are paid. The application process can last three to five months. SSD benefits come from a worker’s mandatory payroll deductions. For eligibility, a worker must have worked a specified time in employment governed by Social Security.
A worker must have a condition that meets the SSA’s criteria for an eligible disability. A disabling condition should be expected to last at least one year or result in the worker’s death.
First, SSA will deny a claim if the worker is earning an average of $1,220 in 2019. If a claimant is not working and their income is below the substantial gainful activity limits, the SSA will determine whether the disability interferes with work-related activities.
If the disability meets this level of severity, the SSA will evaluate the condition or determine whether it is contained on the list of disabling medical conditions. When the disability does not meet the list’s criteria, the SSA will determine whether the condition interferes with the work that the claimant did in the past. The SSA will review whether the claimant can do other work based upon factors, such as age, education and experience if the claimant cannot engage in their previous occupation.
An attorney can help claimants meet requirements for SSDI benefits. They may also represent claimants at hearings and appeal denials.