Disability Insurance (DI) Facts

December 7, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: December 7, 2016

Social Security disability payments are modest, but they keep some families financially afloat.

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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Cathleen F.

    I cant get any help with a form I must fill out stating the Dr says I’m unable to work still,, I’ve called the office many times but no one seems to care to help n I don’t want my checks to stop because I never received the form to fill out n mail back PLEASE HELP

    • Ray F.

      Hello Cathleen. Please visit your local Social Security office. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  2. Alan J.

    If I earn $14,300 at my job here in 2018 and someone else in a similar situation earns $14,100 then I lose $9,000 in SSDI just because I earned an extra $200.

    $1180.00 Substantial Gainful Activity 2018.
    $1180.00 x 12 months = $ 14,160.

    Mathematical Inequality!

  3. Sylvia F.

    I am drawing my SS early at reduced benefits.
    I also work 80hours per month.
    And arthritis is attacking my hands at an alarming rate.
    My ability to grasp objects reduced more and more.
    I am cutting my hair short because O can no long braid my hair or grasp the comb and brush for very long.
    Can I apply for disability social security when my hands are medically deemed disabled?

    • Ray F.

      Hi Sylvia, the Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person believes they are disabled and meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability as soon as they become disabled.
      Disability benefits are paid at a higher rate, while we consider your application for disability benefits and wait for a medical decision, you can continue to receive your retirement benefit. Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age. If a person has reached his or her full retirement age and is receiving Social Security retirement, they will not be eligible for disability benefits.
      Since you also mentioned that you are actively working, we suggest that you read our Benefits Planner: Getting Benefits While Working.
      We hope this information helps!

  4. Juan V.

    What is the process in obtaining Medicade and Medicare after approval of disability?

    How long does it take to get Medicade and Medicare approval after approval of disability?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Juan. Individuals can be eligible for Medicare benefits after they receive disability benefits for 24 months. We start counting the 24 months from the month they were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first check. You can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
      To learn about Medicaid benefits in your area, visit https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/index.html. We hope this helps!

  5. Lloyd R.

    SS disability it something few people consider until they become disabled. I was disabled at 40 years of age due to a car accident with two small children to raise. I had a broken back that left me paralyzed from the waist down. It took several operations and years of rehabilitation to get back on my feet. During that time SSI provided help to me and my family. Since then I went through vocational rehabilitation to learn new engineering skills and then worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers for 23 years.
    Thank you for what you do for disabled people.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for sharing, Lloyd! We appreciate your thoughts. We will continue our efforts to meet your requirements and expectations in the years to come.

  6. Douglas S.

    I had SSDI back in 1987 the max I believe due to my epilepsy. In about 1994 I decided to try and work again and did at a variety of jobs most all of which I lost due to my epilepsy. I reapplied circa 2000. I was then married and my wife made good money as a R.N. I was once again given SSDI but, at the lowest monetary level offered looking to be in good health.
    I am now divorced also have glaucoma & take medicine for my anxiety. My benefits are the same level as they were before.
    Now having glaucoma & anxiety & with my ex-wife retiring in 2 -18 my sole source of income will be SSDI. With the glaucoma & anxiety now obtained for lack of a better word will or can I receive more than the minimum I have been receiving?
    May all your dreams come true,
    Thank you
    God bless you,
    Douglas Alan Sullins

  7. Sarah F.

    Is my sick nine yr old intitled to any kind of ssi benifets of my mentally incompetent ex who has never paid a dime of support our sick 9yr old has been born as we struggle he dopes & drugs & parties all his ssi check & our daughter litterally haves to go hungry & sick at times! Can or are we able to drawl a comprehensive benefits off him since he’s incompetent & mentally physically abussive & threat to my daughters well being plz I need some advice to help me! Thanks & God bless, struggling American born momma

    • Ray F.

      Hi Sarah. Benefits issued through our Supplemental Security Income or SSI program are based on the needs of the individual and are only paid to the qualifying person. There are no spouse’s, children’s or survivors benefits payable. Benefits paid through our Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, in certain circumstances, are payable to certain family members if the disabled individual worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

  8. Ed L.

    I am 55, and first went out with my back 10 years ago, on 4/14/07. Don’t you think this hasn’t gone on long enough??

  9. Ed L.

    I wasn’t even allowed to speak to the Manager! I’m still burned inside, because THEY got their MONEY, and what did I get? Waste of Gas, Time, and complete embarrassment Being DISABLED AFTER 7 Back Surgeries!!! NO ONE CARES! You all now have my email, some one PLEASE contact me ASAP!

  10. Ed L.

    I finally SET an appointment, and it was for 9 AM, and I wasn’t called back there until 10:30 AM, and it was YET another waste of Time! He didn’t explain a SINGLE thing to me, except to say, “Nope, what you are getting is the right amount!” I let it go, and I didn’t even get a NOTICE as to why I wasn’t getting what was stated to my by the two law firms, and SSSI itself!!!! They are the ones who have to have a say in it, and I just keep thinking, when are you going to get some decent individuals in here!

    HE even kept my Paperwork, that I had to sign off on the amount of the settlement, and what I was supposed to draw! That Bel Air office needs some SERIOUS help, let alone a massive overhaul on who they choose!

    Why can’t a representative just contact me at my Home? I would be HAPPY to speak to someone, before my Lawyer steps in, and has his say!

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