Social Security Disability Insurance

What You Need to Know

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a payroll-funded program to supplement the income of those unable to work due to disability. For an individual to be eligible for SSDI, the disability must last for at least a year or be terminal. The disabled individual must also be under age 65 to be eligible, as 65 is normally the age of Medicare eligibility.

To be eligible for SSDI, individuals must have accumulated a prescribed number of Social Security credits (normally accumulated through work experience and payment into Social Security) during the 10 years immediately preceding disability. Requirements vary according to age, and those suffering disability before age 23 may be able to draw on their parents’ Social Security credits without affecting their parents’ eligibility for SSDI.

What can you expect when you apply for SSDI?

Unfortunately, many individuals encounter difficulties in applying for and receiving disability benefits. Typically, they encounter long waiting periods only to learn their claims are denied. They may submit documentation showing eligibility for SSDI only to learn they’ve overlooked a minor detail or two that can lead to outright denial or another lengthy waiting period. The sad fact is, over 60% of SSDI claims are denied, and the waiting periods for hearings and appeals can cause severe hardship to disabled persons in need of SSDI. This, of course, underscores the importance of getting every detail in your SSDI application correct and presenting clear documentary evidence of your disability and inability to work.

According to the official Social Security Administration website at, a 20-year-old worker has a 30% chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age. If you’re disabled and need help determining whether you’re eligible for SSDI, click here to view requirements. If it appears you’re one of the many people who are eligible for SSDI benefits, following is some information to get you started.

How do I apply for SSDI?

You can do so in a variety of ways. The first is by visiting your local Social Security office. Although an appointment is not generally necessary, it is advisable to call in advance in order to minimize possible complications.

You can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance by telephone. The toll-free number is 800-772-1213 (TDY 1-80325-0778).

You can also apply online here.

Regardless of how you decide to apply for SSDI, it’s important that you do so as soon as you become disabled. Processing of claims for SSDI normally takes three to five months, and you won’t want to wait any longer than necessary to receive the benefits you’re due.

How can I minimize the chance of delays?

Follow every instruction carefully. Make sure you provide every bit of documentation that’s requested. You can also save time by having such documents as your birth certificate, naturalization papers, tax forms, and military discharge papers ready to submit. For a complete list of documents you may be required to submit with your claim, visit

Such simple steps as these are also vital to ensuring your claim isn’t denied due to error. Remember, the majority of claims are denied—and often for reasons that could easily have been avoided!

It is also advisable to be prepared to answer any questions regarding your claim or condition. Click here for a list of questions you can expect to be asked.

If your claim is denied, you will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration giving the reason for denial. If you disagree with the Social Security Administration’s decision, you have the right to appeal. For information about the appeals process, click here. But don’t forget that filing an appeal can be time-consuming and is often avoidable when due care is taken in filing a claim for SSDI.

If you’d like to know more about disability benefits or Social Security Disability Income, MedicareMall will be happy to discuss your circumstances and options. And, of course, if there’s anything you’d like to know about Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or Medicare supplement insurance, MedicareMall will be happy to answer those questions, too. Contact MedicareMall now and we’ll make it our priority to see you get the health care or disability coverage you need.

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