Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)
Under the federal Social Security Disability Act, “disability” means the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physician or mental impairment which can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months or result in death.”
Social Security Disability Benefits or SSDI are paid to individuals who have worked in the recent years. Usually you have to work 5 out of the last 10 years.
Supplemental Security Income benefits or SSI are paid to individuals who are low level income and disabled whether or not the individual has worked in the past. SSI child’s disability benefits are paid to children who are under 18 years old, are disabled and the parents or guardian are lower level income.
You should file as soon as it is determined that you will not be able to work during the next 12 months or your condition is expected to lead to death. However Social Security is not a short term disability. Therefore if you have an accident where you cannot work for several days or even a few months, you will not be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.