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A Better Understanding Of Social Security Disability Insurance

One in every four American citizens lives with some type of disability. According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), 26% of American adults – which translates to about 61 million disabled persons – have some form of disability. Unfortunately, this population faces a higher risk of economic difficulties. 

However, a good number of them can engage in substantial and gainful activities, but even so, those who do still encounter some challenges. For those who don’t have such opportunities, making a living is an even tougher undertaking. And this is where the Social Security Disability Insurance comes in. 

Here’s a better understanding of the social security disability insurance: 

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

In layman’s terms, this is a United States Federal program that offers an economic lifeline to those affected with any form of disability, hence the name Social Security Disability Insurance. This is a scheme that will also include members of your family in case they are affected by a disability that keeps them from engaging in substantial and gainful activities. Ideally, you could get the right legal advice from a qualified attorney to help with such issues. Applying to the scheme will, however, apply to those who’ve been working long enough and have been paying social taxes. Another main qualifier is to have a Social Security Number.

Who qualifies for SSDI?

If you are disabled and cannot engage in any meaningful income-generating activities, you could qualify for SSDI. But as earlier mentioned, you need to have been enrolled in a social security scheme and armed with the social security number. You also need to have worked long enough to earn work credits. These are credits earned for every $1,410 earned and with a maximum of 4 earned credits annually. In short, you require about 40 credits to qualify. However, younger citizens are exempted from this rule.

Who is in charge of SSDI?

When it comes to enrolling in Social Security Disability Insurance, it’s important that you consult the right government agencies. The two main government agencies mandated to handle SSDI issues are:

  • Social Security Administration (SSA) – This is an independent Federal government agency whose mandate is to oversee Social Security, disability, retirement, as well as survivor benefits. Additionally, it is tasked with the issuance of Social Security Numbers.
  • Disability Determination Services (DDS) – this is an agency mandated to carry out findings regarding the disability of individuals and report back to the SSA.

Pros and Cons of SSDI

Your decision when enrolling in the social security disability insurance scheme will be based on facts. You need to know all that pertains to the program, and the best way is to know the pros and cons. These include:


  • It offers a lifeline to you or your kin in case of disability or even death
  • The payments can safeguard you against certain economic impacts such as bank foreclosures
  • Having other sources of disability insurance doesn’t exempt you from receiving social security benefits


  • The application process can be long and tiresome
  • Encourages poverty and laziness
  • The DDS (Disability Determination Services) has to assess and qualify your disability as a disability

The Social Security Number (SSN)

As aforementioned, you have to have a Social Security Number in the U.S to pay your social security taxes as well as apply for the SSDI. To apply for the SSN, you need the following: 

  • Form SS-5 – The SSN application form duly filled and completed
  • Proof of Citizenship such as U.S Birth Certificate, Passport, U.S Consulate report of birth, U.S Certificate of Citizenship, and Certificate of Naturalization. In the absence of a Birth Certificate – a hospital record of birth can be submitted
  • An in-person interview for all applicants above 12 years of age

If you are an alien but are approved by the Department of Homeland Security, you’ll require the following: 

  • Form SS-5 fully and correctly filled
  • Proof of your immigration status
  • I – 20 forms for a student with F-1 Visa
  • DS -2019 form for J-1 or J-2 Visa holders. This is the Eligibility Certificate for Exchange Visitor Status.

It is important to note that the application process is free and that all the above-mentioned documents should be presented in their originals to the local Social Security Office.

Being away from work as a result of disability is no easy thing. It’s equally challenging when living with a disabled kin. If you are facing such difficulties, the SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) can be of great help. You could visit your Disability Determination Services or Social Security Administration Offices or use the above pointers to help you out.