Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is available to those who are totally and permanently disabled and have at least 20 Social Security credits in the last 10 years. Most full time workers will have 4 credits for each year worked.
In order to be eligible for Social Security disability, you must be “disabled.” For Social Security purposes, a you are “disabled” if you have a medical problem that prevents you from performing “substantial gainful activity.” Substantial activity can be employment, volunteer work or even school. In addition, your medical problem must be severe enough that it has lasted or will last at least a year. Social Security disability does not pay for short term problems.
As a practical matter, I can tell you that Social Security disability is primarily about your capacity to work. Stated another way, in order to prove that you are disabled, you often need to prove that you cannot work even a simple, unskilled job. For example, imagine yourself working as an packer, where you sit at a table and pack items in a box; imagine yourself as a cashier at a parking lot; imagine yourself as a nighttime security system monitor. Could you perform one of these very simple, low stress, low exertion jobs 8 hours a day, 5 days a week?
Before you can file an SSDI claim, you must have been totally and permanently disabled for 5 consecutive calendar months.
Most initial SSDI claims are denied and the average wait time from filing to approval is roughly 18 months.
If you do not have enough quarter hours of coverage for SSDI, then you may be eligible for SSI, which is a welfare program that pays a set amount (currently $710 per month in 2013). In addition if your medical condition left you unable to work months or years in the past, you sometimese can get payments dating back to the time when you left your last job – this may amount to tens of thousands of dollars payable as a lump sum.
Just because you cannot work, there is no reason to lose your dignity.
Money is available through federal programs and you have every right to claim your share.
Social Security Disability Income is for those who genuinely deserve the assistance. It is not a “gimme” nor is it an entitlement. Jonathon Ginsberg lists 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid if you expect to collect Social Security Disability.
If you are found disabled and you have enough credits to qualify for SSDI, you automatically become eligible for Medicare. However, you do not get Medicare immediately. Instead, you become eligible beginning with the 25th month after your first SSDI payment.
Once you qualify for Medicare, you will be eligible to purchase a Medicare supplement plan or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. You should also consider Medicare Part D (drug plan), especially if you require several prescription medications.
Georgia Medicare Plans will be glad to advise you on your options.