May 21, 2018
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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI is an integral part of the Social Security program paying vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves because of a serious and long-lasting medical impairment.

  • In December 2013, 8.9 million people receive disabled-worker benefits.
  • Payments also went to 160,000 spouses and 1.9 million children.
  • In Maine: 63,333 people between ages of 18 and 64 received SSDI in 2012.
  • Average benefit nationwide: $1,145 per month.

Social Security pays disability benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long and recently enough, paid Social Security taxes, and have a lasting medical condition that prevents you from working.

Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings and investments.

“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Eligibility criteria are strict and over 50 percent of applications are rejected.

Source: Social Security Administration, 2014; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, SSDI Chart Book, July 2014.



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