Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI for short, is a federal program that provides income support for people who are unable to work for a year or more due to a serious injury or illness. SSDI is an important and invaluable program for the over 8 million Americans who receive benefits, but there are several reasons why you may want to choose a private disability insurance policy instead.
As you can guess from the number of hits when searching for "SSDI lawyer," qualification is notoriously difficult and can take time.Only one third of applicants receive SSDI benefits, and for those who do, the average monthly benefit is 2021 only $ 1,277.
Who is eligible for SSDI benefits?
There are two different criteria for SSDI benefits, so not everyone who is unable to work due to a disability will qualify. definition of disability, you must also be “insured.” That part is not automatic, even if you have a social security number.
Are you insured?
With individual disability insurance such as Haven Disability, you become insured by paying monthly or annual premiums With group disability plans, these premiums are usually paid by an employer, but with SSDI you will be insured through tax deductions.
If you have wondered what the abbreviation FICA is for your pay stub means (and where the money goes), it stands for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. That a number post the social insurance's old-age benefits, survivors' benefits and disability insurance, plus the hospital insurance tax, also known as Medicare.
To be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough to have the minimum work credits required for your disability. The number of credits required for SSDI benefits depends on your age, with younger people needing fewer points. The requirements get quite complicated, but the SSA website has a useful breakdown of the number of credits needed by age if you are curious.
Do you have a disability?
The second requirement to qualify for SSDI benefits is to meet the National Insurance Administration's definition of disability. With SSDI, that bar is higher than many individual disability insurance policies. To qualify, your illness or injury must …
- Prevent you from performing the work you did before
- Prevent you from adapting to a new profession
- Expected to last for at least a year or result in death  The second point is particularly important. Many private disability insurance companies pay benefits if you are unable to perform your job, but SSDI only pays benefits if you are unable to perform a job for which you are qualified, based on your age, education and previous experience.  The medical condition must also be severe enough that you will not be able to perform basic work activities for at least one year, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting or remembering.
How to Apply for SSDI Benefits
The Social Security Administration compiled a starter kit to help you prepare to file an SSDI claim with frequently asked questions, a document checklist, and a worksheet to organize your information. You can download the SSDI Starter Kit from their website in both English and Spanish.
When you are ready to submit an SSDI claim, you can start the application process online at www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/ or by phone at 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, the TTY number is 1-800-325-0778.
What happens if my SSDI claim is denied?
From 2008 to 2017, only 22% of the first SSDI applications were approved. However, this does not mean that everything is lost. The first step is to appeal by submitting a request for reconsideration, during which another SSA employee will re-evaluate your first disability claim.
If the review is denied, the next step is a hearing before an administrative judge, who will review the facts of the case. If you are denied again, you have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Social Security Appeals Council, followed by a federal court. Only 2% of the claims were approved during the review phase and 9% at the hearing level from 2008 to 2017. The final allocation rate was on average 33% during that period.
How soon will I receive SSDI benefits?
Although injury or illness must last at least one year to qualify for SSDI, you do not necessarily have to wait one year to receive benefits. You can apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled, and should probably do so, as the Swedish Social Insurance Agency says that it can take three to five months to process an application.
If your application is approved on the first try, the fastest will receive benefits in most cases is the beginning of the sixth full month after your disability began. If you are not approved initially, the appeal process can take months or even years. The good news is that if you win an appeal later, you can get due dates that go back to the time you are deemed to have been entitled.
How much does SSDI pay?
The amount you will receive in the social insurance's disability insurance is based on your lifetime income, so the answer will not be the same for everyone. If your disability claim is approved, the social insurance amount will be the same as your full, unreduced pension benefit. Basically, you only start receiving pensions early. This means that the maximum monthly social insurance benefit is the same for both programs.
For 2021, the maximum monthly cash benefit is $ 3,148 a month, although most receive less. The average monthly SSDI cash benefit for a disabled worker was $ 1,277 per month in January 2021 and $ 2,244 per month for disabled workers with a spouse and one or more children. The amount is not related to the type or severity of your disability, and in the case of SSDI, there are no payments for partial or short-term disabilities.
How SSDI compares with private disability insurance
SSDI versus short-term disability. insurance
As we mentioned earlier, the fastest way to get SSDI benefits is at the six-month limit, and that is if you are approved immediately. It can take months or years before the appeal process is complete. It is a long time to go without income.
A short-term disability insurance policy can help fill the gap for SSDI applicants. As it sounds, short-term disability insurance is designed to cover immediate needs if you are sick or injured and unable to work. With Haven Disability, you can choose between elimination periods or waiting times of 14, 30 or 60 days. An elimination period of 14 days means that you would be entitled to invalidity benefits after missing only two weeks of work. You can also choose benefit periods of 3, 6 or 12 months.
Short-term disability insurance also usually pays a higher percentage of your salary than SSDI. Social security is designed to cover about 40% of your income, while short-term disability insurance is usually about 60%, depending on the insurer. Haven Disability offers monthly benefits from $ 500 to $ 5000 per month, with a maximum of 60% of your income.
If you receive disability insurance through your employer, the benefits are taxed as income. But with an individual short-term disability policy such as Haven Disability, the disability benefits you receive will not be taxed. So if your monthly benefit is $ 3000 and your claim is approved, you get a full $ 3000. This means that 60% of your income can come closer to your normal home salary.
SSDI vs. Long-term disability insurance
While short-term disability insurance can be used to supplement SSDI, long-term disability insurance is more of a benefit. If you meet both the medical requirements and the work credits, you can rely on SSDI for long-term coverage, but you may not want to.
Many private long-term disability insurance offers self-employment coverage which means you would receive benefits if you could not do your own job, rather than any job. The benefits can start earlier, with some long-term policies offering elimination periods of 90 days. The benefits also tend to be slightly higher than SSDI, with long-term disability policies typically paying at least 50% of your income (and usually more).
Which one should I choose?
Whether you should get short-term disability insurance, long-term disability insurance, both or not really depends on your situation, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer. If you have several months' income in your savings account, you may be able to forgo short-term coverage. However, if one or two paychecks are missing, which would cause serious financial difficulties, short-term coverage may be a priority.
Want to learn more?
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