No, it is more of a “safety net” and will pay monthly benefits to you based upon the amount of money that you have paid into the system through employment taxes.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a disability insurance program financed by your Social Security paycheck deductions. Unless you are a young worker, you must have a total of 10 years (40 quarters), and five of the previous 10 years (20 of the last 40 quarters) of FICA-taxed wages to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. By contrast, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) requires no work time at all, but there are limits as to how much property you can own or money you can have in the bank. With both programs, you must be found disabled. That is interpreted as being unable to perform any Substantial Gainful Activity. The Social Security Administration oversees both programs.

SSDI benefits are not based on financial need and therefore your assets and passive, unearned income are not relevant. As long as you have worked the minimum number of quarters required and the SSA determines that you are totally disabled, you are eligible.

If your claim is among the approximately one-third of claims that are approved initially, the process should take just a few months. For most people, however, the appeal process must be used to secure benefits. If your claim is approved after an appeal to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, it is common for there to be delays of a year or more before benefit payments commence.

Medical reports are extremely important in proving your disability. While you can ask that the Social Security Administration provide doctors for “consultative exams,” these are a poor substitute for the reports of a treating physician. If you cannot afford a doctor, you may be able to obtain treatment through a hospital clinic or county health services.

Any decision you make should first take into account what is best for you from a medical care standpoint. However, it may be wise to consult with another doctor as your treating doctor’s opinion is extremely important in your claim.

You should seek legal counsel regarding your chances on appeal. An appeal must be filed using the proper forms and within the sixty days allowed from the date of the denial decision. Your chances of winning an appeal are greatly enhanced by retaining our firm to represent you.

You generally have 60 days to submit an appeal after receiving a denial notice and may be allowed five extra days for the mailing to get to you. Under certain circumstances, the SSA will accept a late appeal for “good cause.” Some reasons the SSA may consider a “good cause” for filing a late appeal are diminished mental capacity or hospitalization, lost mail, etc. However, do not delay even one day in filing your appeal and an explanation letter for the late filing.

If you feel that your claim is has merit, by all means immediately file a new claim.

When your benefits begin, you will be advised by the SSA of your duty to report future work income and its effect on your benefits. Generally, the SSA does not consider earnings under $1,010 gross per month as substantial.