Social Security Disability

SSD is funded through the payment of your Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax withholdings, also known as payroll taxes. Both employers and employees pay FICA taxes to fund SSD. If you have worked for a minimum period of time (generally 5 out of the last 10 years), you’re entitled to SSD benefits if you become disabled.

Your benefit amount is based on your past earnings, which are contained in your SSA Earnings Statement. You can complete and mail SSA Form 7050 – Request For Social Security Earnings Information1, log on to, or stop into your local Social Security Office to receive a copy of your Earnings Statement. If you become disabled, this report tells you the approximate amount of disability benefits you’re entitled to. If you find an error on your Earnings Statement, you should contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately to prevent mistakes from impacting your claim for benefits.

You must apply for SSD within a specific period after becoming disabled. SSD is similar to a personal medical insurance plan in that you’re only eligible under the SSD program for a finite period of time after becoming disabled. The date your coverage expires under SSD is known as your Date Last Insured (DLI). After the DLI passes, you’re no longer eligible for SSD benefits. Your DLI is individual to you and is based on the number of years you worked, and the amount of FICA taxes you paid to the government.

SSD benefits are payable starting five months after the date SSA finds you disabled. The date SSA finds you disabled is called your entitlement date. SSD benefits continue to be paid as long as you stay unable to work according to SSA’s definition of disability.

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