Important questions and answers regarding SSDI

Social Security Disability Insurance is available to anyone who has worked in one or more positions covered by Social Security, who has paid into Social Security for a set number of years — typically 10 — and who has a qualifying disability. Age doesn’t matter, and neither does one’s economic status. So, if you are now disabled and meet all of the necessary qualifications, you may receive SSDI in monthly installments until you can work again, until you reach retirement age, or until your death.

Of course, not all Illinois residents who believe they qualify for SSDI actually do. If you are wondering if you qualify for SSDI, there are a few questions you can answer to find out.

How many work credits do I have?

You earn Social Security work credits based on your yearly wages. It’s possible to earn four credits a year. To do that, you must earn at least $5,640. To qualify for SSDI, you need to have 40 work credits, half of which you must have earned in the last decade. Of course, age does matter here. Younger workers may have their applications for SSDI approved with fewer work credits.

Do I meet the definition of disability?

SSDI is only available to individuals who are totally disabled. The Social Security Administration may deem you completely disabled if:

  • You cannot perform the functions of your job due to your medical condition.
  • You cannot work in any other field of employment due to your condition.
  • Your disability has or is expected to last for a minimum of 12 months.

The SSA is only looking at long-term disabilities when determining if you qualify. It expects you to have the means or access to other benefits to cover anything deemed a short-term disability.

Can SSDI benefits be transferred to a spouse who’s disabled?

If a person is receiving SSDI and he or she dies, those benefits may transfer to a surviving spouse or former spouse if that individual is also disabled. To qualify for survivor benefits, the applicant must be between 50 and 60 years old and must have a qualifying disability that occurred before the death of the spouse.

Have more questions or need help seeking SSDI?

SSDI benefits can be difficult to get as the government wants to make sure they are only going to those who really need them. If you have more questions, need help applying for SSDI or need to appeal because the SSA denied your request, legal counsel may be able to provide you with the information you need and assist you with your application or appeal.


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The Law Office of William C. Wombacher

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Peoria, IL 61602
NELF | National Elder Law Foundation
CAP | Council of Advanced Practitioners | NAELA | National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Illinois State Bar Association