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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

If your child has worked long enough and has paid Social Security taxes, he can get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

What is SSDI?
give money Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays monthly checks to people who have a disability AND have paid enough Social Security taxes. Your child would probably only get it when he's an adult.

SSDI could help your child after he has worked for a few years.
If your child has gotten SSDI for more than 2 years, he can get Medicare. Medicare pays doctor and hospital bills.

How can your child get SSDI?
To get SSDI, your child has to:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident
  • Have a disability since before age 22, or have a parent who is retired or disabled, or a parent who has died
  • Have worked long enough

How much work is enough?
Your child needs to have enough "credits" to get Social Security.

  • Usually, a person needs 40 credits to start getting SSDI.
    He has to have earned 20 of those credits in the past 10 years.
    But your child may be able to get SSDI with fewer credits.
  • Your child earns 1 credit for every $890 he makes.
    Forty credits equals $35,600.
  • Your child can earn up to 4 credits a year.
  • If your child makes more than a certain amount of money a month, his SSDI payments may stop. But there are many programs that let your child work and still get his SSDI check. Call your Social Security office to ask about these programs.

What counts as a disability
Your child could get SSDI only if:

  • His disability lasts for at least 1 year.
  • He can't do the work he used to.

To see if your child can get SSDI, he'll be asked some questions:

  • Is he working?
    If he's working and makes more than the limit (in 2003, the limit is $800 a month), his SSDI payments may stop.
  • Is his condition "severe"?
    If he's not working, then he has to show that his hearing loss stops him from doing things that are related to work.
  • Are deafness and/or his other special needs on their list?
    If they are, then he can get SSDI. If they aren't, then the government will see if his disability is as severe as those on the list.
  • Can he still do the same work as he did before?
    If he can, he can't get SSDI. If he can't, he goes on to the next question.
  • Can he do some other kind of work?
    If he can't, then he gets SSDI. But if he can do some other kind of work, then he won't.

To read more about this topic, go to Social Security Online's page, "How We Decide if You Are Disabled".

How much money does your child get?
How much money your child gets depends on how much he's earned since he started working. But if he gets other kinds of help (like SSI), he could get less money. But if your family needs help with money, he could get more money.

Here's an example. The most money your child can get from SSI and SSDI together is $572 a month. Let's say your child gets $200 a month in SSDI. But if your family really needs help with money, your child could get the other $372 in SSI.

Call your local Social Security office to find out if your family can get this help.

How do you get SSDI?
Apply by going to your local Social Security office or calling their toll-free numbers: 1-800-772-1213 (Voice) or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

How long can you get SSDI for?
Your child can get SSDI for as long as he is disabled. But if something changes - like his hearing loss changes, or his other needs become less severe - then your child could stop getting SSDI.

The government will also review your child's case.

  • If your child is expected to get better, then the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review his case 6 to 18 months after his benefits starts.
  • If it's not clear if your child will get better, the SSA will review his case after 3 years.
  • If your child probably won't get better, the SSA will review his case after 7 years.

Learn more about SSDI

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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