Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a vital program that provides financial support to people who are unable to work due to any combination of mental or physical disabilities.
Unfortunately, there are misconceptions surrounding SSDI that paint it as a “hand-out” or some kind of welfare program. In reality, SSDI is an entitlement that works much like an insurance policy – and you’ve probably been paying on that policy your entire life.
Here’s why it’s an entitlement you deserve
Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It provides financial assistance to individuals who have disabilities that prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and are expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. Its primary purpose is to replace a portion of the income you and other disabled people have lost due to a disability so that you can maintain a reasonable standard of living.
One of the key reasons why SSDI is an entitlement is the fact that it is funded through U.S. federal payroll taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Essentially, workers earn eligibility for SSDI benefits by paying into the system during their working years and earning “credits” for their work that gives them “insured status.”
To qualify as insured under SSDI, an individual must have accumulated a certain number of work credits, the number of which can vary depending on the age at which disability strikes. In addition, the amount of SSDI benefits you’re eligible to receive is calculated based on your average lifetime earnings, with higher earners receiving more substantial benefits.
SSDI serves as a critical safety net for workers who experience debilitating disabilities that prevent them from continuing their employment – it’s not charity. You aren’t “living off the system” if you need to make a claim but are, instead, merely collecting what you are rightfully due. If your SSDI claim has been unfairly denied or you are having trouble navigating the application process, know that there is legal help available.