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Home » Glossary » Social Security Disability Insurance

Definition of Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a monthly wage replacement program offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to workers who become disabled with a severe mental or physical health condition and who are no longer able to work or perform substantial gainful activity. To qualify for SSDI benefits workers must have a condition which is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or result in their death.

Not all disabled workers will qualify for SSDI. Workers must also have worked and paid employment taxes and earned what the SSA terms "work credits." Workers who have generated enough work credits will be considered insured for SSDI benefits. Workers who do not have enough work credits are not insured and will be denied SSDI benefits, regardless of the severity of their health condition. SSDI is not offered for partial or short-term disability benefits.

Disabled workers who are insured for SSDI will also want to apply soon after quitting work. Workers who wait too long to apply will eventually reach their date last insured (DLI) and will no longer be insured for SSDI. Talk to a lawyer if you have more questions about your disability benefits and qualifying for SSDI.

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