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What is the Social Security Disability Insurance program and who can apply for benefits?

Those who wish to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance must pass a different test to receive their benefits, but you do not have to have reached retirement age.

Así es la propuesta que busca aumentar la edad de jubilación y reducir los pagos del Seguro Social
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Millions of people receive monthly payments from the Social Security Administration. Beneficiaries include retired workers and people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

What are the Social Security Disability Insurance programs?

SSI provides basic financial assistance to adults age 65 and older and people with disabilities, regardless of age, with limited income or resources, while SSDI provides support to people who have not have reached their full retirement age but have a disability and have a qualifying employment history.

To be an SSDI recipient, you must have paid Social Security taxes while working as a qualified employee, which is the biggest difference from SSI recipients, who can apply for the benefit without having worked, since this program is subsidized by the federal government.

Who can apply for benefits?

According to official information from the agency, the people who may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are those who prove they have a serious or total disability, whether it is an injury or illness that prevents them from performing “a substantial gainful activity”.

What conditions are considered a disability for Social Security?

  • Musculoskeletal disorders, such as amputation, chronic joint pain and spinal disorders,
  • Special senses and speech, such as impaired hearing, sight or speech,
  • Respiratory disorders, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis,
  • Cardiovascular illnesses, such as arrhythmia, congenital heart disease and heart failure,
  • Digestive system, such as bowel or liver disease,
  • Genitourinary disorders,
  • Blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease and other anemias, bone marrow failure or hemophilia,
  • Skin disorders, such as burns, dermatitis and ichthyosis, a group of about 20 conditions that cause dryness and scaling,
  • Endocrine disorders, such as diabetes and thyroid problems,
  • Congenital disorders, such as Down syndrome that affect multiple body systems,
  • Neurological disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and traumatic brain injuries,
  • Mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, depression, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia,
  • Immune system diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), inflammatory arthritis and lupus.

They must demonstrate that the treatment they are undergoing lasts at least one year, or that the disease has no cure. They must also have made the necessary payments to Social Security during their working life.

How to apply for SSDI benefits?

You can apply online through the official SSA website or by phone at 800-772-1213. You will need to have the necessary documents on hand to prove your disability and work history. SSA has a list of helpful documents to review before you call.

If you would like a Social Security representative to help you file your application, call the number listed above and schedule an appointment. The average time to get a response from SSA is more than six months. If accepted, payment is calculated as if you had reached full retirement age.