There is often confusion about the eligibility requirements when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The vast majority of injured workers who file a workers’ compensation claim will not be eligible for SSDI benefits. SSDI is only for injured workers who are no longer able to work at all. Specifically, the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gain activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
The definition of disability used to determine SSDI eligibility is significantly different than the definitions of temporary disability or permanent disability in workers’ compensation claims. Most workers who receive permanent disability ratings in a workers’ compensation claim are usually able to continue working in some capacity. SSDI applicants must show that they cannot work in any capacity and have a limited ability to earn income. In 2019, the monthly income limit for SSDI recipients is $1,220.
The full list of disabilities that qualify for SSDI benefits can be found here. If a specific disability is not listed explicitly, a special government agency knows as Disability Determination Services will decide if the disability is just as severe as the disabilities that are listed.
In addition to a provable, severe disability that prevents the ability to work for more than a year, SSDI benefit eligibility also requires a history of work. SSDI applicants must have enough ‘work credits’ with SSA to be eligible for SSDI benefits. Work credits are earned through paying taxes. Have you ever wondered what “Social Security Wages” on your W-2 form are? Work credits are earned by paying taxes on your Social Security wages. These taxes are generally withheld from your paycheck under the label SOC SEC EE. In 2018, for every $1,320 in Social Security wages, you earned a work credit. You can earn up to 4 work credits a year. To qualify for SSDI, you need a certain number of work credits earned over your lifetime and a certain number of work credits earned in recent years.
An experienced SSDI attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for disability benefits and help you apply for those benefits. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth’s dedicated team of SSDI experts can even help you appeal a denied claim. Call us today at 888-517-9888 to receive a free consultation.