Social Security Disability Insurance, a payroll-tax funded federal program, issues benefits to those workers who are disabled and cannot work. But unlike many disability funds, SSDI only pays for total disability—no short-term benefits are offered to applicants.
Once an applicant has satisfied the work requirements necessary to become eligible, the Administration will then determine if the worker also meets the federal government’s strict definition of total disability.
What is Total Disability according to Social Security?
Total disability means that one’s medical condition is so severe that it’s expected to last one full year or more, or result in death.
A 5-step process is implemented with assistance from the Disability Determination Services (DDS) who uses doctors and disability specialists in the state agency to consider all facts in an applicant’s case and verify medical records and conditions. This will determine whether or not one’s condition is severe enough to be considered disabled.
In an effort to determine the severity of a condition, the 5-step process will not only look at current work status and ability to perform previous work, but it will also take into account the Social Security Administration’s ‘Listing of Impairments.”
This Listing, although not the be-all end-all of disability eligibility, is as comprehensive as it gets. The Administration maintains a very inclusive list of medical conditions and circumstances that will automatically establish a person as disabled.