Did you know there are different types of Social Security disability benefits?   The main two types of disability are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

This week I’ll focus on SSDI.

You are eligible to apply for disability benefits under the SSDI program if you have worked 20 out the past 40 quarters (or 5 out of the past 10 years).  This disability policy is paid for by the FICA taxes that are withheld from your paycheck.

If you were given a 1099 form and didn’t pay your taxes, then you may not be eligible for this type of benefit.  If you are self-employed but do not show a profit on your profit and loss statement, you may not be eligible for this type of benefit.  Whether you are eligible are not in these situations depends on how long you didn’t pay your taxes and how long you didn’t show a profit.  The Social Security office will be able to tell you if you are eligible for SSDI.  If you are not eligible for SSDI, you may be eligible for SSI which I’ll cover next week.

If you apply for SSDI and are approved, the amount you receive depends on how much you have worked and paid into the system.  The average disability check for the disabled worker under SSDI is approximately $1165.  Your children may be due benefits as well.

Say that Don stopped working on June 15, 2013 and he filed for disability benefits in July 2013.   His application goes through the process and he is approved at a hearing held in July 2015.  He receives his decision in August 2015 and receives a Notice of Award from the Social Security Administration in September 2015, notifying him that he will receive his first monthly check in October 2015.

Under SSDI, there is a five-month waiting period before you are due your first check.  So since Don stopped working on June 15, 2013 (his onset date), he will be due his first SSDI check  in December 2013.

His back pay is the accumulation of benefits from the month he was due his first check until the month he begins receiving his monthly benefit check.  So Don will be due back pay from December 2013 until his monthly check begins in October 2015.  He will receive his back pay in one lump sum payment.

Because Don is eligible for SSDI, he is also eligible for Medicare.  Don is due Medicare beginning two years from the date he is due his first check.  Since he was eligible for his first disability check in December 2013, his Medicare coverage will begin December 2015.

I hope this helps to demystify SSDI.  Next week I’ll discuss Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, which differ significantly from SSDI.