Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that includes a cash benefit and Medicare insurance when an applicant has been determined disabled. The disability determination is made by the state’s Disability and Adults Program Division (DAPD), which has been contracted by the Social Security Administration. When applying for SSDI, applicants should bring the following documentation to the initial interview:
- Social Security number and proof of age for each person applying for benefits.
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and institutions that have provided treatment and the dates of treatments.
- A work history for the past 15 years.
- Original certified birth certificate.
After completing the SSDI application, the paper work is forwarded to the DAPD office, where an evaluation team consisting of a physician or a psychologist and a disability-evaluation specialist will determine disability using the following criteria:
- If a person is engaged in substantial gainful activity (i.e., earns more than $500 a month) if so, he/she generally cannot receive SSDI.
- The disability must prohibit an applicant from working for one year or more, or lead to death.
- The disability must prevent a person from doing any other type of work for which he or she is qualified.
- If a person has end-stage-renal disease.
To qualify for SSDI, a person must have worked long enough and recently enough under Social Security. A person can earn a maximum of four work credits per year. The number of work credits needed to receive SSDI depends on when the disability started.
Social Security Disability Insurance will not begin until the sixth full month after the onset of the disability. The claims process is long because of the need to obtain medical information and to assess the disability in terms of the ability to work.
Once the DAPD allows the claim, the applicant will receive the first SSDI check dating back to the sixth month from the onset of the disability.
A person’s eligibility will be reviewed periodically; however, the frequency depends upon the following:
- If medical improvement is expected, there will be a review within 6 to 18 months
- If medical improvement is possible, there will be a review no sooner than 3 years and
- If medical improvement is not expected, there will be a review no sooner than 7 years.
To begin the SSDI application process, contact the Social Security Administration by calling, toll-free, 1-800-772-1213.