What is Social Security Disability Insurance

All working Americans participate and are covered in a long-term income protection insurance program. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and it is a federal program mandated for all working Americans who suffer a long-term disability. The program defines disability as, “Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, and remembering – for at least 12 months.”

You may read that sentence and think “Awesome,  I’ve got insurance, I’m going to close this and go binge Game of Thrones” but we wouldn’t recommend that because as fantastic as it is that we have access to this program, it’s notorious for being incredibly hard to obtain. Just to qualify for the program you need to “…have worked and paid into the program (payroll taxes) for five of the last 10 years.” To learn more about the work credit system from SSDI check out this description on the Social Security Administration website.

Let’s say you are hurt or sick and you’ve been working long enough and you’ve decided to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, this is where it gets frustrating. Just for your initial claim, it can take anywhere from 3-5 months to get an initial decision and 68% of people filing initial disability applications are denied.

Ok, so you were denied on your first attempt, the good news is that you can appeal the decision! The bad news is that the appeal could take up to 5 months. There is a 2nd appeal where you would have to go in front of an Administrative Law judge but even there, it can take up to 600 days to obtain a hearing.  In all, it can take up to four years just to get a decision. Plus, benefits under SSDI are taxable since they are paid for with using the payroll tax. All that time, you’re not working, not earning an income. Now imagine you’re doing that all on your own. It stresses me out just writing it, let alone going through it.  

The program was designed to provide subsistence level benefits in the event of a serious and long-term disability, not to insure your lifestyle or hard earned savings.

We’re not saying all is lost because we are lucky enough to potentially have access to this program if we are too sick or hurt to work, but we think it is important that you understand that if the worst case scenario does occur in your life, it may be some time before you are able to obtain these benefits.

That is why we included a Social Security Disability Insurance Assessment and Advocacy Benefit in our Income Protection Insurance Policy because as your benefits are coming to an end, we want to make sure our customers are in good hands with experts who can help advocate for them in the next stage of their lives.

If you have any questions regarding SSDI or Income Protection Insurance, in general, do not hesitate to contact our help desk.


Social Security Administration – Benefits Planner: Disability | How You Qualify

True Help – Social Security Disability Insurance FAQs

NPR – Long Waits And Long Odds For Those Who Need Social Security Disability

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