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Social Security Disability:  SSDI Basics of How Your Work History Impacts Eligibility and Amount You are Paid

Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits are an important financial safety net if you are unable to work due to a long-term physical or mental disability. These benefits provide financial support and medical coverage to help you maintain your quality of life when you are no longer able to work for income.

One key factor that impacts your eligibility for SSDI benefits is your work history. This includes the type of jobs you have had and the amount income you have earned. When applying for benefits it’s essential that you understand how your work history can affect your eligibility for SSD.  

Understanding Social Security Disability (SSDI)

SSDI is a federal program that provides financial support to those who are unable to work due to a disability. This program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is funded through payroll taxes.

It’s important to note that SSDI is different from Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While both programs provide financial assistance to individuals with disabilities, SSI is based on financial need and is available to those who have not worked enough to qualify for SSDI.

Work Credits and Eligibility

In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, you need to have enough work credits. Work credits are earned through employment and are based on your annual earnings.

Typically, you can earn up to four work credits per year. The amount of earnings needed to earn one work credit changes each year and is determined by the SSA. In 2023, you earn one credit for each $1,640 in wages or self-employment income you earn in a year.

The specific number of work credits varies depending on your age at the time of disability. Generally, younger individuals will need fewer work credits compared to older individuals.

Work History and Benefit Amount

In addition to determining eligibility, your work history also plays an essential role in determining the amount of SSD benefits you will receive. This is because SSDI benefits are based on your unique average lifetime earnings. The most accurate estimate is via the Social Security benefit calculators or calling Social Security.

The SSA uses a formula to calculate an individual’s primary insurance amount (PIA), which is essentially the monthly benefit amount they are entitled to. The higher an individual’s earnings during their working years, the higher their PIA will be. For example, if you have a long work history with higher earnings, then you may receive a higher monthly benefit amount compared to someone with a shorter work history or lower earnings.

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Appeals and Reconsideration

If your initial application for SSD benefits is denied, then you may appeal the decision.

It is important for you to understand that many initial applications are often denied, and appealing unfavorable decisions is necessary. It is important to carefully follow the appeal process and provide documentation or evidence to support your claim.

This process of appealing your denied claim can be time-consuming and rigid. It can sometimes take several months only to find out the SSA wants more supportive documentation.  You could’ve saved a lot of time if you’d sent it right away, but you only know what you know.

We recommend hiring an experienced SSDI attorney to help you file an appeal if your claim was denied. Doing so can expedite the process because they have experience filing for appeals and working with the SSA. They know what the SSA wants to see, and can prepare you for what’s to come. Hiring an attorney won’t get you higher compensation, but you may be able to increase your chance of success in getting your benefits.  And, in the likely event that your case goes before a judge, having legal representation will keep things on track for a successful outcome.

Call Arthur Law Firm if You’ve Been Denied SSDI

It’s important to understand the application process, and that appealing unfavorable decisions is often necessary in order to receive benefits. If you’ve filed for SSDI benefits and have been denied, contact Arthur Law Firm right away (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation. We can help you through this process and get you the financial assistance you are eligible for and need.