SSDI Expert Answers Common Questions During Disability Insurance Awareness Month
Three out of four U.S. adults are insured for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits; Allsup provides answers to common questions about SSDI benefits
Belleville, Illinois — May 4, 2016 — About three in four U.S. adults, or 76 percent of those age 20 or older, are insured for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, pointing to the importance of this disability protection, according to Allsup. The nation’s leading Social Security disability representation company has helped more than 250,000 people to receive their SSDI benefits.
Even though millions of workers pay into the Social Security disability program through FICA payroll taxes from their paychecks, few understand how they can access or use the program. Disability Insurance Awareness Month during May provides an important opportunity to bring attention to workers’ needs and choices about disability insurance.
“Often people aren’t sure when, or how, to apply for disability benefits,” said Ed Swierczek, senior claimant representative for Allsup. “But anytime a person has had a serious injury or major illness, it’s worth investigating applying for SSDI.” This is particularly true if the impact has lasted or is expected to last 12 months, or if the person’s condition is terminal.
Those who want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance often find that it is a confusing, complicated process, Swierczek said. For the newly disabled, applying for SSDI can cause additional worries during an already stressful time. The federal insurance program is overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which applies strict guidelines when determining who qualifies for SSDI benefits.
SSDI Expert Answers Common Questions
Below Swierczek answers common questions about the SSDI program.
- Who can use SSDI benefits? About 151.2 million U.S. workers are insured for SSDI benefits in the event of a severe disability that takes them out of the workforce.
- What is the SSA’s definition of disability? It means that someone is unable to work because of a verifiable mental or physical impairment expected to result in death, or has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months.
- How does someone qualify? Generally, the person must have worked and paid FICA taxes for at least five of the last 10 years. An individual also must have been disabled before reaching retirement age (65-67) and must meet the SSA’s definition of disability.
- Is it difficult to get SSDI benefits? Yes, it can be. The SSA denies 67% of initial applications.
- How long does it take to get a decision on an SSDI claim? It’s a lengthy process. Someone can expect to wait about three to five months to receive an initial decision. If the claim is denied, the first appeal may take another three to five months. If the claim is denied and appealed to a hearing with an administrative law judge, the additional wait could be more than 17 months. The national average wait time is now about 518 days, according to the SSA.
- Do I need an SSDI representative like Allsup? You can apply on your own, but Allsup may dramatically improve an applicant’s chances of receiving disability benefits.
“A common mistake is that people wait too long to apply for SSDI benefits,” Swierczek said. Those who apply must be currently insured — they must have worked for five of the past 10 years. Someone who waits too long may “time out” of being qualified for benefits, he added.
How much a person receives from SSDI varies, depending on how much money they earned during their working years. The national average is $1,166 in 2016. About 57% of beneficiaries receive monthly income between $700 and $1,400. A smaller portion, about 10 percent of SSDI recipients see monthly benefits of $1,900 or more.
If a worker has a child under age 18, they may receive an additional amount of about 50 percent of what the parent receives in the form of dependent benefits. “This money can make a major difference for a family when a parent is no longer able to work due to disability,” Swierczek said.
To determine your likelihood of qualifying for SSDI benefits, get started with empower and take our Free SSDI Assessment.