Every working American pays into Social Security, but not everyone understands what their contributions do. People often only vaguely understand the basics of Social Security retirement and disability benefits. The same employment contributions fund both retirement benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
SSDI helps adults who can no longer work because of a disabling medical condition. It provides a baseline level of income to cover their necessary expenses. When you don’t understand how SSDI works, you will have a hard time making a claim if you ever find yourself unable to work because of a serious medical condition.
What should every working adult know about SSDI benefits?
The initial approval rate isn’t very high
Sometimes, the myths about benefits are correct. Most people have heard that applicants often don’t get approved for SSDI, and there’s truth to that claim. A lot of people try to initially apply for benefits on their own and then end up hiring professional assistance when they appeal the denial of their benefits.
According to the Social Security Administration’s internal analysis, roughly 23% of applicants get approved right away each year. Many qualified applicants will need to file an appeal to get benefits.
There are four possible appeal stages
When people talk about an SSDI appeal, they often mean a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). However, that is actually the second level of appeal. Applicants can also request a reconsideration of their initial application. Even if the ALJ does not rule in favor of the applicant, there are two higher levels of appeals available that may lead to a successful claim.
You get benefits going back to when you qualified upon approval
It can take months just to have a hearing in front of an ALJ, and waiting that long without benefits can be hard. If you need to appeal beyond that stage to get benefits, it could be well over a year before you finally get approved for benefits. Thankfully, those who have had to deal with a frustrating and lengthy appeal can expect to receive backdated benefits starting when they initially qualified after their application.
Although the process of applying for benefits can take some time and lead to stress, eventually connecting with those benefits can help those who can’t work but are still too young to retire. Learning more about the SSDI benefits program can help those dealing with a disabling medical condition.