Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)


SSDI is an insurance program. Therefore, no information about living arrangement or resources is required. Instead, the SSDI application will ask questions about past earnings and entitlement to other benefits. People over 18 years of age who have worked and contributed to the Social Security Trust or others who became disabled before the age of 22 whose parent is deceased or receiving retirement or disability benefits may be eligible.

This article provides a guide to the information requested on the Online Disability Benefit Application, the online version of the SSA-16: Application for SSDI.

SSA is committed to expediting claims and quickly issuing payments for the most serious conditions and for claimants that are in dire need. When working with an applicant that is experiencing or at risk of homelessness, SOAR providers should be aware of the following SSA initiatives and practices.

SSDI provides benefits to disabled or blind persons who are "insured" by workers' contributions to the Social Security trust fund. This article describes the SSDI return-to-work employment provisions.

Once SSA receives all of the non-medical information, the process of establishing basic eligibility (in SSA terms, “non-medical eligibility”) begins. In the SOAR process, the case manager provides SSA with a packet containing all the necessary information. If the person does not qualify at this step, the application goes no further. Be sure to address all non-medical criteria thoroughly and accurately.

There are two SSA disability programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). People often confuse them. Both programs are federally funded and administered by the Social Security Administration.


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SOAR Voices Blogs

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Disability Determination (DDP) Small Grant Program, which provided $10,000 research stipends to graduate students in the area of disability, has successfully concluded. In total 55 research projects were completed, designed to assist SSA with its disability determination process. Research was conducted on the process itself, the Compassionate Allowance program, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s  (SAMHSA’s) SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) program, to name a few.

By Elizabeth Pivonka
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Albany, New York

By Everett Lo, Social Security Administration’s Regional Public Affairs Office in the New York Region

National Social Security Month is celebrated in April and is dedicated to educating you about Social Security programs and services.  From programs that help support you through life’s journey, to services that help put you in control, to systems that help protect what’s important to you, Social Security is committed to helping secure today and tomorrow for you and your family.

By Elizabeth Pivonka
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Albany, New York

Happy New Year from Social Security! Put down the champagne and ring in the New Year with a COLA! And we don’t mean the soda. In 2015, nearly 64 million Americans who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase to their monthly benefit payments of 1.7 percent.

Photo: Jen Elder and the panelists from the National Conference on Ending Homelessness' "Increasing Access to Income and Benefits: Strategies for SSI/SSDI" panel. Left to right: Pamela Fischer (SAMHSA), Lindsay Knotts (USICH), Jen Elder (SOAR TA Center), and ML Jordan, Jr. (SSA).

By Elizabeth Pivonka
Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Albany, New York


Question: How does Social Security decide whether I am disabled?