Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The SSDI Benefit

If Social Security approves your SSDI benefits application, your monthly SSDI cash benefits will be based on your Social Security earnings record. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a complicated formula to figure out what your monthly SSDI benefits amount will be. Generally, the more you’ve worked and the more you’ve paid in Social Security taxes, the higher your SSDI benefits will be.

Dependents' Benefits

When you qualify for SSDI benefits, your children under age 19 may also qualify to receive benefits based on your record. It doesn't matter whether the child has a disability. Your spouse may also be able to get benefits if age 62 or older, or if caring for a child under 16. Social Security has more information about these benefits.

Your qualifying child or spouse will get these benefits in any month you get an SSDI benefit. Read more about what months you and your dependents will get a benefit in SSDI and Work.

When Will My SSDI Benefits Start?

If you become eligible for SSDI benefits, you won’t get SSDI cash benefits for the first five full months after the onset of your disability. This is called the waiting period.

Once you have gotten SSDI benefits for two years, you automatically become eligible for Medicare, even if you are under age 65. We’ll discuss the connection between SSDI and Medicare later in this article.


If SSA decides that your disability began on January 15 (your onset date), February, March, April, May, and June would be your five-month waiting period.

You would be paid your first SSDI benefits payment for the month of July, but because Social Security benefits are paid in the month after they are due, you would get your July benefits payment in August. Two years later, in July, you'd start having Medicare health coverage.

You would continue to get SSDI benefits payments and Medicare coverage as long as you meet all SSDI work and eligibility requirements and Social Security continues to consider you to have a disability.

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