The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is meant to help provide workers who suffer a catastrophic injury or illness with an income while they are unable to work. This program has very specific requirements to help ensure that only those who truly need the benefits are approved.
Many people might think that this program is only for older Americans; however, you can't use SSDI if you have reached full retirement age, so this program is meant for those who are still of working age but unable to work due to disability. Only those with a disability that is expected to last at least one full year are approved. The only exception to this is if the applicant has a condition that is likely to lead to their death.
Additionally, people who apply for SSDI must meet the program's definition of being disabled. This means they can't participate in gainful employment. It is estimated that the average 20-year-old worker has about a 25 percent, or a one-in-four chance, of becoming disabled during their work career.
Sometimes, SSDI payments can be made to qualified family members of the disabled individual. This is often provided to minor children and sometimes spouses. More than 10 million people are thought to be participating in the SSDI program.
If you are disabled, you may need to apply for SSDI. Beware, this isn't a quick answer to financial issues that come with being unable to work. Unless you qualify for an expedited application due to a compassionate allowance, your application will likely take considerable time to work through the approval process.