Depending on your injury, you may have a long recovery process, and your income during this time period may be limited if you are unable to return to work.
While considering your options during this time, you may be interested in learning about Social Security Disability and whether applying is an option for you.
It is important to note that SSDI is a long-term disability program, and it is intended for people who are expected to be disabled for at least 12 months.
Therefore, it is not an option for people with short term needs. A person who broke his or her leg in a car accident and will be able to return to work once the cast is removed in six weeks is not going to be eligible for SSDI benefits.
What Will Social Security Look for?
The first thing that Social Security will look at when they receive your application is whether or not you are currently working, and if you are, they will determine whether you are earning substantial gainful activity (SGA). This number was $1,010/month gross income in 2012.
If you are not earning SGA, they will then move on to see if your impairment meets the 12 month durational requirement. If it does, they will then evaluate your work history for the past 15 years to determine if you would be able to return to that type of work.
If not, Social Security will use your age, education, and functional capacity to determine if you would be able to work in any relevant job within the national economy. If they determine that you could not, you will be awarded monthly SSDI benefits.
What if I Have Never Worked?
SSDI is a program that is for people who have paid in enough FICA taxes through their employment to be insured for SSDI benefits. If you do not have enough FICA taxes, talk to Social Security about applying for SSI.
SSI is a program designed for people without a strong work history who are both medically and financially eligible for benefits.