A Basic Guide to Social Security Disability

Posted by Christopher “Chris” Schwartz | May 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

If you're a disabled worker looking for financial relief, you already have your work already cut out for you. 

You probably can't find a job that'll take you due to your condition, and it doesn't matter how much you want it.

So if you can find any opportunity to receive benefits, you need to take it!

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that provides thousands of dollars worth of financial aid monthly to almost 10 million people in 2019. But to receive the disability benefit, you need to pass the requirements for getting one which is easier said than done.

In this post, we answer the common questions raised about SSDI. In the end, you should know:

  • What to expect if you plan to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
  • The qualifications that you need to meet to become one of the few disability beneficiaries.
  • The exact process you should follow to get granted.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social security disability insurance is granted to people with severe and long-lasting disabilities. 

While people with disabilities (PWDs) can still get hired for jobs, some are unemployed because they can't function to work properly due to their debilitating conditions.

That's why the SSDI is here to provide relief to these people. It's enough to provide shelter, food, medication, and other basic expenses to help PWAs live independently.

How Much Does Social Security Disability Pay a Month?

The average monthly benefit that PWDs received from the Social Security Disability Insurance is $1,424.17 as of January 2021. The figure is determined by the average lifetime earnings of disability beneficiaries.

Who Is Eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?

To have a better understanding of how to qualify for social security benefits, we need to talk about the definition of “disability.”

As mentioned, people with disabilities that prevent them from functioning properly for work put them a step closer to becoming eligible for insurance. They also need to have worked long enough and have been employed for 5 out of the last 10 years (or at least 25 percent) of their adult life prior to incurring their disability.

Those who lack work experience and history can apply for Supplemental Security. This is common among women whose lack of work history is due to committing themselves to take care of their children or family.

How Do You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

You can apply online to the official site of the Social Security Administration (SSA) by clicking here. You can also call its toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment where you must fill out your application.

People applying for the Social Security Disability Insurance can only receive the benefits six months after the day the SSA deems you as disabled.

How Difficult Is It to Receive Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security?

The allowance rate of disabled beneficiaries to receive Social Security and SSI from 1992 to 2017 averages below 40 percent.

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The denied parties can ask for reconsideration but they only have an average of less than a 10 percent allowance rate. If they decide to take their situation to court, they have approximately a 60 percent allowance rate. All these percentages are allowance rate averages from 1992 to 2017.

This illustrates the difficulty of getting your application for Social Security Disability Insurance approved.

Therefore, people should exhaust all their options before applying for the SSID. If nobody is willing to hire them for work due to their disability, that's the only time they should qualify for either one.

It is reserved for people unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity.” This means that they cannot get hired for a job that pays a monthly wage of $1,040. 

At the same time, the degree of disability should be very severe that no employer is willing to hire due to their inability to function according to the standards of significant employment. This goes on top of other factors that affect employment and disability: age, work experience, and education.

To determine the severity of disability a person has, an accredited or licensed medical professional must provide documentation that supports this claim. Documentation or testimonials from members of your family and other healthcare workers such as nurses are not considered medical evidence.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

In case you're having issues with your Social Security Disability benefits application, you can also apply for disability benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

It's another disability program with funds coming from general tax revenue and not social security taxes.

It has the same agenda as SSDI: provide financial relief to disabled people who have no income.

However, what makes SSI different is it also caters to people in full retirement age (65+) who don't necessarily have disabilities.

On the downside, its average monthly payment ($585.53) is much lower than SSDI as of January 2021.

Nonetheless, disabled people can submit their applications to BOTH at the same time – there's no need to choose from between these disability programs. This should help supply additional insurance benefits to people who can't find work.

Which Disabilities Do Most SSDI Beneficiaries Have?

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Below is a list of debilitating physical or mental conditions that people granted with Social Security Disability Insurance have:

  • Musculoskeletal System – covers the loss of function and movement due to bone or joint destruction or deformity.
  • Special Senses and Speech – causes statutory blindness; loss of speech.
  • Respiratory Disorder – results in the obstruction and restriction of air passing in and out of the lungs.
  • Cardiovascular System – talks about diseases that prevent the heart from functioning properly.
  • Digestive System – includes conditions such as chronic liver disease, short bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, and others.
  • Genitourinary Disorders – covers conditions stemming from chronic kidney disease.
  • Hematological Disorders – tackles disorders resulting in the disruption of white and red blood cell development. 
  • Skin Disorders – includes bullous diseases, dermatitis, genetic photosensitivity disorder, and others.
  • Endocrine Disorders – deals with the over or underproduction of a specific hormone.
  • Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems – 
  • Neurological Disorders – evaluates non-mosaic forms of Down syndrome.
  • Mental Disorders – deals with wide or mental conditions from psychotic or neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Cancer (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases) – tackles all types of cancers not associated with HIV.
  • Immune System Disorders – deals with dysfunction of one or more immune system components.

Keep in mind that, just because you share the same disabilities, doesn't mean that you also will be approved to receive the benefits. This list is to help you determine if your condition could be considered as a disability by the administration.

How Long Can a Person Stay on Social Security Disability?

A person is eligible to keep receiving benefits if the severity of their long-term disability remains the same and doesn't improve. However, there are two ways for the Social Security Administration to prevent you from receiving further benefits.

The first is when you start to recover from your disability.

The SSA is obligated by law to review your situation over time to check up on your condition.

And the results of their findings could radically change one's eligibility for benefits.

Below is a breakdown of the possible findings and recommendations:

  • Disability is expected to last – Review in not less than seven years.
  • Health is possible to improve, but no timetable yet – Review every three years.
  • Health is expected to improve – Review within the next 0.5-1.5 years after one starts to receive benefits.

Once a medical professional reviews your instance and deems you as fully recovered, you will stop receiving the benefits.

The second way the SSA will cut you off your benefits is when your work is at a level it considers as “substantial.”

Keep in mind that people receiving disability benefits are still expected to return to work or at least try and find work. And once they do and are currently maintaining a monthly income of $1,310 ($2,190 a month or more for the blind), the administration will suspend their benefits. 

The amount that the SSA deems as “substantial” may change over time.

Are You Having Issues With Your SSDI Assistance?

At this point, you should be aware of how hard it is to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Even if you have a legitimate case of receiving benefits based on countless factors, you can't be too sure due to the low allowance rate over the years.

Therefore, if you want to increase your chances of being granted Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you need the law by your side to provide you the assistance if things go wrong on your end.

The right attorney that specializes in Social Security Disability allows you to prepare the right paperwork and documents that prove your disability before submitting your application.

And if your Social Security Disability Benefits unjustly get cut off, a legal counsel will help you come up with the next few steps on how to approach this issue.


Let's face it: getting approved to receive Social Security Disability Insurance feels like a coin flip. You may think you have all the odds in your favor, but it might not play out that way for reasons unbeknownst to you.

And that's unfortunate because you need this money to help you get back up your feet and start living life once again. 

Hopefully, this guide has supplied you with information on how you need to take your SSDI application seriously to qualify for benefits. Or if you're currently receiving benefits, you must find ways on how to keep receiving the financial aid.

The next step you must take is getting the best legal counsel and advice to get you off the right path.

If you're in the New Orleans area, send us your email address here so we can provide you with a FREE consultation and case evaluation.

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Schwartz Law Firm LLC attorneys bring over 25 years of combined experience securing personal injury recoveries and workers’ compensation successes in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana.