Social Security Disability FAQ

Q: What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
A: Social Security Disability Insurance is one of two programs administered through the Social Security Administration (SSA). It gives financial assistance to people who are unable to work due to a physical or psychological disability.
Q: What do I need to qualify for SSDI?
A: To qualify for SSDI, you need to meet two primary criteria. First, you must have a physical or psychological condition that prevents you from working. Second, you must have a certain number of work credits, which you earn by paying Social Security taxes on earned income.
Q: How many work credits do I need to qualify for SSDI?
A: Most adults need 40 work credits, 20 of which must have been earned over the past ten years. If you are under the age of 30, you may need fewer work credits to qualify. You can earn up to four work credits per year, meaning you can accumulate the necessary 40 work credits through ten years of earned income.
Q: What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
A: Supplemental Security Income is the second program administered through the SSA for people who cannot work due to a disability. It bears many similarities to SSDI, but is different in terms of what you need to qualify for it.
Q: What do I need to qualify for SSI?
A: Like with SSDI, you need to have a disability that prevents you from obtaining gainful employment. Unlike SSDI, you can qualify for SSI even if you do not have any work credits accumulated. However, you must make less than a certain amount of money per year to qualify for SSI. If your income ever rises above the maximum limit, you will lose your ability to obtain SSI benefits.
Q: How do I apply for SSDI/SSI?
A: You can apply for SSDI or SSI through the SSA website. If you are uncomfortable applying online, you can also begin the application process by phone, by mail, or by visiting an SSA office in person.
Q: Can I ask my primary care physician for a disability evaluation?
A: No. Disability evaluations are performed by Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state-run agency under the SSA. You must be examined by a DDS doctor to be approved for SSI or SSDI benefits.
Q: What happens if my application gets denied?
A: If your application for SSDI or SSI benefits is denied, you can appeal the decision for reconsideration by an administrative court judge, by the SSA’s Appeals Council, or by a federal court judge. However, you should only do so with the help of a lawyer who is knowledgeable in Social Security disability law.

If you have additional questions or need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.