Answers to 5 Common Questions About SSDI

SSDI Explained

If you’re in the process of researching SSDI, let’s take a look at answers to some of the questions you may have:

Do SSI and SSDI Refer to the Same Program?

No. While the Social Security Administration manages both programs, each acronym refers to a different program. SSI (Supplemental Security Income){ pays monthly benefits to low-income individuals who are either disabled, blind or over the age of 65. This program also has income and asset requirements in addition to disability requirements.

SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) pays monthly benefits to people who are limited or unable to work because of a disability. Requirements include being under 65, having enough Social Security credits, and showing medical proof that a disability is expected to last for at least a year.

What are Social Security Credits?

Social Security credits are used to calculate how much someone has paid into the Social Security system. For most people, collecting SSDI requires that they earned a certain number of credits by working during the last ten years. Individuals can earn up to four credits per year. For 2013, making $4,640 over the course of a year is enough to earn four credits.

The number of credits required to qualify for SSDI depends on age. Someone who is 22 only needs six credits from the last three years, while a 31-year-old will need twenty credits from the last ten years. Although the latter scenario may sound like a lot, it only requires working for five of the last ten years.

Are There Exceptions to the Social Security Credits Policy?

Yes. For example, if someone was disabled before age 22, he may qualify for SSDI off of his parent’s earnings record even if he doesn’t have any credits. Of course a person with too few work credits to qualify for SSDI may still be eligible for SSI benefits since that program doesn’t have a credits requirement.

Can Individuals Receive SSDI and Be Enrolled in Medicare?

Yes. Normally, Medicare is only available to people over the age of 65. However, anyone who receives SSDI for two years becomes eligible for Medicare. This eligibility includes Medicare Parts A, B and D, which cover hospital, medical and drug benefits.

Can Someone Apply for SSDI on Their Own?

Yes. However, according to an August 2010 Social Security Administration audit report about cases that are initially denied and later allowed on appeal, “if claimants with the four impairments we analyzed had representatives earlier in the disability process, some of them may have received an allowance decision at the DDS level, saving them time and SSA money.”

If you have any additional questions about SSDI or your own eligibility, don’t hesitate to contact Attorney Ritacco online!