Are You Using Social Security Disability Insurance to the Fullest? You Should Be!

Many people are surprised when they hear how many government aid programs exist. Sometimes, even if they are aware of them, the fact that they don’t put in the effort to learn about these programs. As a result, they lose out on some really useful benefits.

Other times, people find the process of applying for them to be too difficult. Understanding the eligibility criteria can be confusing and requires people to have their documents and IDs updated. 

A recent report by the Urban Institute showed that more than four in ten adults had difficulty enrolling themselves in safety net programs. This included Social Security Disability Insurance, which we will explore today. 

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program in the United States that provides financial assistance.

According to TruLaw, it is a lifeline for those dealing with disabilities and is designed to offer financial support to individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability.  

Sadly, data from the official U.S. Social Security website shows the number of beneficiaries in June 2023 was only 71,197. That is a lot lower than it should be. 

There are undoubtedly countless more people facing disabilities who have yet to onboard to SSDI benefits. The number is even more surprising when you exclude people over the age of 65. One discovers that only 11,811 people who are disabled and under the age of 65 are receiving SSDI benefits.

What Sort of Benefits Does SSDI Offer?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is worth applying for because it provides vital financial and healthcare support to individuals who are unable to work due to their disabilities. Let’s look at some of the benefits.

Financial Support

SSDI provides a steady and reliable source of income for disabled people who can’t work or earn a living as a result of their medical conditions. The benefit amount is based on the individual’s average lifetime earnings covered by Social Security, ensuring that beneficiaries receive an amount relative to their work history.

Medicare Coverage

After a two-year waiting period from the date of disability onset, SSDI beneficiaries become eligible for Medicare, which is a federal health insurance program. 

Medicare helps cover essential medical expenses, including hospital visits, doctor appointments, prescription drugs, and other necessary treatments. This healthcare coverage can significantly reduce the financial burden of medical bills for disabled individuals and their families.

Protection against Poverty

Without SSDI, individuals with disabilities may face financial hardship and an increased risk of falling below the poverty line. SSDI provides a crucial lifeline to maintain a basic standard of living and avoid severe financial distress for disabled individuals and their families.

Preservation of Work Credits

If you have applied for SSDI, you can protect the work credits you have earned through your employment and Social Security tax contributions. These credits are essential for eligibility for various Social Security programs, including retirement benefits.

Why Aren’t More People Using SSDI?

There are several reasons why not all disabled individuals are on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

The eligibility criteria for SSDI are strict. They require the disability to be severe or serious enough to prevent substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months or be expected to result in death. Many disabilities may not meet the criteria or may not be recognized as severe enough to qualify for benefits. 

The Social Security Administration may require substantial medical evidence and documentation to prove the disability’s severity and its impact on the ability to work. Some applicants may not have the necessary support or guidance to present a strong case, leading to high rates of denials

Even if someone meets the medical criteria for a disability, they may still be earning income above the SGA threshold, disqualifying them from receiving SSDI benefits. 

Key Takeaways

If you are thinking about applying for SSDI, you should start organizing your medical records at once. Consistent medical evidence is going to be essential to demonstrate the severity and lasting impact of your disability. To sum it up, here is the essence of what we discussed. 

  • There are a number of government aid programs available, but many are unaware of their existence, leading them to miss out on valuable benefits.

  • The application process for government aid programs can be challenging, with confusing eligibility criteria and the need for updated documents and IDs.

  • Strict eligibility criteria, the need for substantial medical evidence, and earning income above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold can be barriers to receiving SSDI benefits for some disabled individuals.