By paying your FICA, or Social Security taxes, through your job, you are covered by the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Should you be faced with a chronic illness or a sudden health condition that is expected to keep you out of work for a long duration, you are eligible to apply for SSDI.

What are the main reasons people in Indiana and across the United States apply for SSDI?

The first one, obviously, is to bring in income to help support yourself and your family. For some people, it could take years to be well enough to return to the workforce, and you’ll need some income. In 2019, the average disabled worker will receive a check each month for $1,234, or about $14,800 a year. If you are disabled and have a family, the amount rises to $2,130 each month, or $25,560 each year.

SSDI also can help you gain medical benefits in the long term. If you are approved for SSDI, you will become eligible for Medicare 24 months after your benefits. While there often is a long wait for SSDI approval, if it exceeds 24 months, access to Medicare will begin immediately.

Having SSDI benefits also can increase your retirement benefits. Social Security is calculated by the amount of money you’ve made during your career. If you don’t earn any money in a given year, your earnings will register as zero, thereby decreasing your Social Security benefits when you retire. If you have SSDI, Social Security won’t count the years you made no money, thereby increasing your annual average earnings.

Being an SSDI recipient also can provide you with support if your medical condition improves to the point you can return to work. SSDI recipients can have a trial work period, where they ease back into the job market to see how they do back in the workplace while still receiving benefits. There also are incentives to help those who want to return to work.

Applying for SSDI isn’t easy. There is a lot of paperwork to be done, and if it isn’t properly completed, your application could be denied. And then you’ll need to appeal your case and endure another wait to be heard. An attorney with experience in Social Security Disability claims can offer advice to help you make your application the best it can be.