Photo of paper that states Benefits Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is one of the major federal programs that provides financial assistance to people with disabilities. Unlike some other programs for people with disabilities (like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an SSDI claimant can qualify for benefits no matter how much money they have or how much money they make from sources other than work.

SSDI is available to any worker who has a "disability" as defined by the federal government and who has paid into the Social Security system for a specified amount of time, depending on their age.

In order to qualify for benefits, in most cases, an SSDI claimant must show that they are unable to work at any job whatsoever. The claimant must have a physical or mental impairment that makes it impossible for them to engage in any "substantial gainful activity," and this impairment must be expected to last for longer than one year or to result in death.  If a claimant is able to engage in substantial gainful activity, then they will not be eligible for SSDI. 

The Social Security Administration defines "substantial gainful activity" as being able to earn more than $1,010 a month from working. This income restriction applies only to income earned by working; an applicant can receive any amount of unearned income from any source other than working and still qualify for SSDI. 

How much the SSDI benefit will be depends on the amount the claimant paid into the Social Security system. 

For more information on Social Security Disability Insurance, click here.

Reprinted from the August 2012 newsletter of Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law.