To counter unemployment, US states are moving to fill the gaps in the workforce by employing disabled individuals. A 2017 report from the Sacramento Business Journal noted that in Sacramento County, 160,000 disabled individuals were granted employment.
Moreso, the government has taken measures to cater to the welfare of workers. One of these measures is the provision of social security disability insurance. How does this work, and how much can you receive? With the help of experienced Sacramento social security disability lawyers, you can learn more about this program and how you can make the most out of it. But first, let’s define what SSDI is.
What is SSDI?
Social security disability insurance (SSDI) refers to a social insurance program by the United States federal government wherein disabled workers and their dependents enjoy certain benefits. This means that when a policyholder is a physically challenged person with qualifying work history, they will be provided with an income source if their disability prevents them from working.
The SSDI is disability insurance provided by the government, spearheaded by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Moreso, disability insurance is also available by purchasing premiums through private insurers.
The Social Security Act adheres to its strict definition for the benefits to be fully received. Under this law, a person is “disabled” if he cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to any medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which can result in death or is expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. The SSA also provides that the disabled worker earned 40 work credits, 20 of which were acquired in the last five years. However, younger workers can also qualify with fewer credits.
It can be said that the SSDI benefits are available if disability and sufficient work credits through own or family employment are both present. This also means that the person’s medical condition must prevent them from working like what they did in the past and prevent them from adjusting to another work. The law clearly says that it will not provide compensation or benefits to temporary or partial disability.
Benefits earned from SSDI
Unlike private insurers that provide benefits even after one day in employment, the mechanism from the SSA operates differently. SSDI benefits begin on the 6th full month of disability. The 6-month period starts with the first full month after the SSA decided the disability to have begun. This means that SSDI beneficiaries must complete a five-month waiting period to avail of cash benefits.
Unlike other benefits subject to changes, SSDI benefits do not change when one transfers from one state to another because it depends on one’s average lifetime earnings. Further, recent findings show that average monthly benefits can reach $1,230, but this number can get $3,148 depending on work history. Moreover, any insured person with SSDI will automatically qualify for Medicare 24 months after obtaining the disability payments. Aside from this, disabled workers who also availed the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) system can also receive help from Medi-Cal, California’s name for Medicaid.
As a social legislation program, the SSDI is provided for disabled workers alone. The SSDI also covers dependent children of eligible claimants as eligible beneficiaries. Benefits are also extended to the widow or widower of a disabled worker who paid a sufficient amount of money into the system before he or she passed away.
Anticipated SSDI changes
Research data provides that the annual budget for a family to live above the poverty line is $12,140. The current SSDI benefits are perceived as modest amounts, yet these compensations still make a massive difference to people who can no longer work, just enough to meet their basic needs and daily expenses. On a positive note, attempts to increase these payments are ushered in the Senate. These attempts include providing accelerated benefits and employment and benefits counseling.
Although the SSDI program has been operating for several years, only nearly 10 million disabled workers and dependents were recorded beneficiaries from 1970 to 2020. However, several states are also moving to expand and encourage their disabled workers to apply for SSDI, such as Hawaii, Utah, New Jersey, and California.
If you were a worker in the past but got sidelined from your employment due to your disability, it is best to apply for SSDI benefits. SSDI applications have been simplified through an online process or direct appointment with your local Social Security Office. As long as you can prove that you are disabled and insured, you can use these benefits in no time.