Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Also known as: Social Security Disability Benefits, SSD, “Workers” Disability

Last Updated: October 23, 2020

Written by the Open Caregiving Team. Editorial review by Joyce O. Murphy RN, MSN.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security Disability Insurance pays monthly benefits to qualified Americans who become disabled and cannot work before they reach retirement age.

How to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance

To qualify for SSDI, your loved one must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. SSDI also offers benefits to eligible family members of a disabled worker. This happens under certain circumstances.

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

Social Security Disability (SSDI) is for workers who have worked long enough and paid enough social security taxes to qualify for Social Security benefits before they become disabled.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits are for low-income workers who have not worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

How long do Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits last?

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits normally last until you can regularly work again. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers work incentives to help a person who became disabled take the steps to get back to work. These include continued benefits and health care coverage.

Automatic Enrollment into Medicare: If you receive SSDI, you will automatically enroll in Medicare 3 months before your 65th birthday. Your SSDI benefits will automatically switch to Social Security Retirement Benefits if you are on SSDI when you reach the full retirement age.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?

Apply online or call 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call them at TTY 1-800-325-0778. If you are helping someone apply online, SSA.gov has a guide for helping them.

How much income will I get from Social Security Disability Insurance?

You can get details about how much you might receive based on your situation. Create a government my Social Security Account and then use the SSA benefits calculator.

Are my family members covered by Social Security Disability Insurance?

Some of your close family members may also be eligible for benefits after you’ve been approved for SSDI. These include your spouse, children, or your divorced spouse. To read more about benefits your family members may be eligible for, please visit SSA’s Family Benefits page.

What insurance do you get with social security disability?

When the Social Security Administration approves your loved one for SSDI, they will be eligible to receive Medicare benefits. This lasts for two years after their enrollment date in SSDI. For more information on how long it takes to start receiving Medicare benefits after SSDI enrollment keep reading on Nolo.

Is Social Security Disability Insurance taxable?

Most of your Social Security Disability Insurance is not taxable due to the strict rules about income. To understand the times when SSDI is taxable, keep reading on Disability-Benefits-Help.org.

How many hours can you work in 2020 while on SSDI?

If you are applying for SSDI or are currently receiving SSDI benefits you want to be aware of what the SSA deems “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) for the current year. The SGA threshold in 2020 is $1,260 per month so if you have income of this amount or more, the SSA considers you self-sufficient and you will not be eligible for SSDI.

The amount of hours do matter if you are self-employed or the owner of a company. Self-employed individuals or company owners can work 45 hours per month while remaining eligible for disability benefits, unless they have substantial income. The SSA has further criteria for self-employed individuals. It’s best to visit your local Social Security office or call a representative to understand if you still qualify for SSDI.

You can continue reading about working while disabled in this SSA PDF.

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