Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are notoriously difficult to obtain. There are a staggering number of people every year who are denied at the initial application stage. But you should know that you’ve already paid for these benefits. SSDI is, basically, a government-run health savings account. You pay “premiums” with a portion of every paycheck for the decades that you have been collecting a paycheck. Your premium is withheld from your pay through FICA taxes, and you are earning credits – a maximum of four work credits each year. One of the requirements to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits is about 20 work credits, but that number will vary depending on the applicant’s age.
Just remember – to qualify to apply for Social Security Disability, you must have:
- Worked at a job which withholds FICA from your pay
- Accrued sufficient work credits to qualify for disability benefits
- A disabling (physical or mental) condition which keeps you from being able to work for at least one year, or which is expected to end in your death
If you fit these requirements, then you should be entitled to Disability benefits.
The importance of “date last insured” with Social Security Disability benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses your “date last insured” (DLI) in calculating your eligibility for SSDI benefits. The SSA has a “recent work” test, which means that you must have worked five of the past ten years, or 20 of the last 40 quarters.
Your DLI (also referred to as the date your work credits expire), is another factor used in calculating your eligibility to collect Disability benefits. If you do not know your DLI, you can call your Social Security office and find out. If you are on track to have earned enough credits through paying FICA taxes over the years, your DLI may not come up for a few years after you stop working. If you are seeking SSDI benefits, the onset date of your disability must occur prior to your DLI. This underscores the importance of filing for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible when you are becoming too disabled to work, which might help improve your chances of getting approved.
While it might seem like your chances are better to win a big lottery than to get approved for Disability benefits, remember that it is your money that you want to access. If you qualify with work credits, you have been paying FICA for a long time. Let us help you get the help you need.
At Shepherd and Associates, P.C., our Social Security Disability attorneys are here to help you file an application for disability benefits or represent you in an appeal. You may call us at 865-225-9655 or complete the contact form to schedule a consultation with and experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in Maryville today. We serve clients throughout East Tennessee.