Nearly one out of every four American adults report having a disability, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

That amounts to nearly 61 million citizens with physical or mental conditions that affect their daily activities, and many of these may be eligible to receive benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Who qualifies for benefits?

SSDI is financial assistance from the government, set up to benefit disabled people who have paid Social Security taxes. To qualify, workers must have earned Social Security credits. In 2020, one credit is equal to earnings of $1,410, and workers can receive up to 4 credits per year, after at least $5,640 in income. The number of credits required depends upon your age:

  • Everyone earning at least 40 credits can qualify for SSDI, regardless of age
  • 20 credits are needed for people between the ages of 21 and 42
  • Two additional credits are required for every two years after age 42
  • People between 24 and 31 need to have earned two credits per year since age 21
  • Those under age 24 need to have earned six credits over the three prior years

SSDI payments are based on a formula

SSDI payments are determined according to your earnings history and not on the severity of the disability. The estimated average check for 2020 is $1,258. Benefits are not meant to replace all lost income but are regarded as more of a supplement for recipients.

Be thorough when applying

Filing for SSDI benefits can be complicated, and most people are denied after initial claims are submitted. To be eligible, your condition must have lasted for or is expected to last for at least a year, and it’s essential that you apply for benefits soon after becoming disabled.

An experienced attorney who will work with your doctor to provide thorough information about your disability is crucial to receiving SSDI benefits. Your lawyer can also handle appeals for a denied claim.