If you have a condition that makes it impossible to work at your previous job and have applied for Social Security benefits, you probably have questions about your Social Security Disability application status. Applying for Social Security Disability benefits may seem like a hassle, but it can help you maintain your income until you’re ready to return to work or retire. However, not everyone with a disability will qualify.
So, what are the SSI disability qualifications? How can you apply for SSI online? And finally, how can you check your Social Security Disability application status? In this guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at who qualifies:
Who qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits?
First, to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have worked at a job. Self-employed workers can also qualify. Generally, you’ll need at least 10 years of work experience to accumulate the “credits” needed to qualify. You can learn more about the Social Security work credit system via the SSA website.
Second, you must have a medical condition that qualifies as a disability in accordance with the Social Security Administration’s definition of the term. The SSA defines disabilities as conditions that “significantly limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering – for at least 12 months.”
Social Security Disabilities List
Social Security has a separate disabilities list for adults and children. Both Part A (adult disabilities) and Part B (childhood disabilities) cover conditions that fall within 14 different categories, though there are slight variations between each list. Here are the 14 categories for adult disabilities:
- Musculoskeletal System
- Special Senses and Speech
- Respiratory Disorders
- Cardiovascular System
- Digestive System
- Genitourinary Disorders
- Hematological Disorders
- Skin Disorders
- Endocrine Disorders
- Congenital Disorders (affecting multiple body systems)
- Neurological Disorders
- Mental Disorders
- Immune System Disorders
You can consult the SSA Disabilities List for more information.
SSDI vs. SSI
The federal government has two basic programs to help disabled individuals. The first program is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program requires a certain number of work credits (mentioned above) to qualify. The number of credits you require will also depend on your age. In any case, SSDI simply allows disabled workers to start receiving their Social Security benefits early.
Alternatively, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that provides monthly payments to certain disabled individuals based on financial need. The requirements to qualify for SSI vary from state-to-state. However, you will generally have to show proof of a medical disability and income that does not exceed those listed in the SSI program.
How to apply for Social Security Disability benefits
If you meet the criteria above and the SSA determines that your condition is “severe” enough that you cannot continue work in the same field or a new one, then you can begin the application process. To apply for SSDI online, visit SocialSecurity.gov and follow the instructions to begin the application. You can also visit your local Social Security Administration office or call the SSA by phone at 1-800-772-1213.
How much does SSDI pay?
SSDI calculates your payments based on your income, just like standard Social Security. As of 2020, the average monthly payout falls somewhere between $1,200 and $1,300. This amount could also be lower or higher depending on other factors. For example, if you are receiving SSI payments, your SSDI check will likely be smaller.
How much does SSI pay?
It’s important to remember that SSI is completely separate from SSDI. However, you can apply for and receive both SSI and SSDI at the same time. As of 2020, the basic monthly SSI payout is $783 for an individual and $1,175 for a couple. However, the amount typically goes up every year to account for inflation. Also, keep in mind that everyone may not get the same amount. Some states add to the amount provided by the federal government, while some do not.
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How to check your Social Security Disability application status
So, you qualify for SSDI benefits and you’ve submitted your application. Now what? Fortunately, the process to check your Social Security Disability application status is pretty easy. There are two basic ways to check. First, you can check your application online through the SSA website. To check your application, you will need to create a “My Social Security” account and enter your information to find the correct file.
The second way to check your Social Security Disability application status is to call the SSA directly. This will allow you to talk to a representative who can check the status of your application for you. Keep in mind that neither method can provide you with a precise timeline for when you will get the results. You can merely see where your application is in the process and whether it has been accepted or denied.
No matter which method you choose, you will need to provide the following information:
- Full name
- Social Security number
- Contact information (phone number and/or email address)
What happens if my SSDI application is denied?
If your application is denied, you can still appeal the decision. As soon as your application is denied, you should apply for an appeal; the sooner the better. That said, you have a 60-day deadline from the day of the decision to submit your appeal.
Most applications and SSDI claims do not get appealed, even when there is a good chance of a decision reversal. So, you should always apply for an appeal rather than starting a new application from scratch. It could save you a lot of time and give you a better chance of getting the result you want. You can learn more about SSDI application appeals on the SSA website.
If you have a disability, getting your Social Security benefits early can be a life-saver. Many disabilities make it impossible to maintain gainful employment, so programs like SSDI and SSI are a necessary safety net for millions of Americans. Thankfully, if you have a disability that prevents you from working, you will almost certainly qualify for one or both programs. Once you do, it’s easy to apply and check your Social Security Disability application status online or over the phone.
If you’ve had an SSDI application denied or would like to learn more about your rights as a disabled person, check out our guide to free legal aid in all 50 states!