Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) | FAQs

Navigating the challenges of a physical disability or mental health issue while facing financial hardships can be overwhelming. The complexities of the Social Security system only add to the stress during such times. To ease your concerns and provide assistance, we’ve compiled answers to the most common questions about Social Security disability benefits for the year 2024.

Having access to accurate information and proper representation can significantly increase your chances of SSDI approval and offer financial stability. Below, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions that applicants often encounter when applying for or appealing Social Security Disability benefits. Whether you’re wondering about working while on Social Security Disability or if you need a lawyer to represent you in your appeal, we’re here to help.

You can also check out our SSDI benefits checklist and eligibility quiz to establish your eligibility for SSDI benefits. Don’t find your question here? Need tailored advice for your situation? Contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation!

Can you work while on Social Security Disability?

Yes, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may be able to work while retaining your benefits. However, the amount you receive may be reduced based on your earnings from your job. As of 2024, Earning over $1,550 a month may end your SSDI benefits. SSI eligibility while working varies by state.

When to appeal SSDI benefits Denial?

Within 60 days of the day you received Social Security’s refusal notification, submit your written request. Send SSA a “good cause” letter outlining the delay if your hearing request will be received after the deadline.

Applicants can appeal through four levels with Social Security if they are refused disability payments.

When will I receive my first SSDI payment?

Once your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is approved, you must wait five months before receiving your first benefit payment. Your initial payment will be disbursed in the sixth full month after the date we determine your disability began.

Can I get SSDI back pay?

Yes, excluding the five-month waiting period, you should receive back payments for any delays. The maximum back payment period provided by SSDI is 12 months. Your disability must have commenced 12 months before you applied to receive the maximum SSDI benefits.

Are there SSDI income limits that might affect my benefits?

During the trial work period, there are no limits on your earnings. However, during the 36-month extended period of eligibility, you typically cannot exceed $1,550 ($2,460 if blind) a month in 2024, or your benefits will cease. These amounts are referred to as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

How long may SSDI benefits last?

In most cases, you will continue to receive benefits as long as you have a disability. However, certain circumstances, such as improved health or a return to work, may impact your continuing eligibility for disability benefits.

Will my SSDI payments ever increase?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the 2024 COLA will raise the average monthly SSDI benefit for a disabled worker by $48, from $1,489 to $1,537, starting in January 2024. Additionally, nearly 1.2 million family members receiving SSDI on the earnings record of a disabled spouse, former spouse, or parent will also see an increase.

Can you get SSDI and SSI at the same time?

 Yes, individuals are eligible to receive both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs simultaneously. This scenario is referred to as “concurrent.”

I have multiple impairments that together prevent me from working. Can I still get Social Security disability benefits?

“The cumulative effect of significant limitations combines the effects of limitations in 2 or more categories if, together, their effect is as severe as having a marked restriction in 1 category.” (Need to find if SSDI is the same situation)

What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?

Substantial gainful activity (SGA) refers to work that involves physical or mental exertion. According to the SSA, work is substantial if it requires significant physical or mental activity, and gainful if done for pay or profit. Even unpaid work may qualify as gainful if the SSA deems those activities are typically done for pay.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me in my Social Security Disability appeal?

No, representation by a lawyer is not mandatory for Social Security Disability appeals, and individuals can file appeals independently. However, the appeal process involves multiple stages with intricate filings, which can be complex without experience or guidance.

How can I increase my chances of receiving disability benefits?

Consulting with experienced specialists like us can provide direct insights into your chances of receiving disability benefits. Successful results often come from individuals who maintain accurate and complete medical documentation. Keeping a diary or journal of symptoms that support your medical evidence is also considered important.

What is Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)?

Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) is an evaluation of your ability to perform various activities, including work, considering all the limitations posed by your medical conditions.

What if my health improved while on disability benefits and want to return to work?

Yes, you are allowed to return to work while receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). However, the benefit amount may be reduced depending on the income earned from your job.


Need help

The biggest mistake individuals make is thinking it’s a good idea to handle SSDI claims themselves. Qualifying SSDI is complicated and shouldn’t be brushed off.


 It’s not easy to get approved for SSDI benefits, Around 65% of first SSDI applications are turned down. We Have helped many applicants qualify who were previously denied.

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If you are unable to work due to injury or illness, SSDI might be the appropriate option for you. Begin your free evaluation now to determine if you qualify!