Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance

Background

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) as a result of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. The condition must be expected to last at least one year or result in death. SGA is measured in terms of earnings. In 2021, SGA for nonblind individuals is defined as an activity resulting in monthly earnings of at least $1,310 ($2,190 for blind individuals).

After 24 months, SSDI beneficiaries are also eligible for MedicareMedicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant). . This includes Part A (Hospital Insurance), Part B (Supplemental Medical Insurance), Part C ( Medicare AdvantageMedicare Advantage (MA) health plans are offered by private Medicare approved companies as an alternative to Original Medicare. Medicare pays these companies a fixed amount per enrollee per month to provide benefits for Parts A, B, and (usually) D. ), and Part D (Prescription Drugs). The waiting period creates significant hardships for many beneficiaries. They may forego needed medical care or may draw down their life savings to pay for care.

The program currently excludes some people in need. Social Security does not provide temporary disability insurance. This would partially compensate for lost wages resulting from pregnancy and temporary nonoccupational disabilities. Nor does it provide benefits for permanent impairments that limit but do not preclude work. A 21st-century disability policy could place greater emphasis on people’s ability to work rather than forcing people who need assistance to prove that they are permanently and totally disabled.

ELIGIBILITY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE: Policy

ELIGIBILITY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE: Policy

Expanding eligibility

The Social Security Administration should explore options for expanding federal disability benefits. This should include short-term and partial disability benefits. Any evaluation should assess the costs of expansion.

Policymakers should eliminate the existing 24-month MedicareMedicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant). waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries.