Applying for SSDI as a Federal Employee

by | May 22, 2023

federal employee applying for ssdi

If you are a disabled federal employee, you may be wondering how to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance. SSDI is a government program that provides benefits to employees who are unable to work because of a disability.

You will also need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance if you apply for Federal Disability Retirement.

In this article, we will discuss the eligibility requirements for SSDI and how to apply for benefits. We will also talk about how this benefit interacts with Federal Disability Retirement. So, if you are interested in learning more about SSDI, keep reading!

What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that gives monthly payments to people who have worked, paid Social Security taxes, and now have a disability that is preventing them from working.

The amount you receive each month from the Social Security Administration is based on your past earnings. The more you’ve worked and the more you’ve paid in Social Security taxes, the higher your benefits will be.

How to Qualify

In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s strict definition of disability.

Social Security Disability requires you to be totally disabled– you will not qualify with a short-term or partial disability. Total disability means that you cannot do work and engage in substantially gainful activity (SGA) because of your medical condition. The SGA limit for 2023 is $1,470/month or $2,460/month if you are blind.

Additionally, you cannot do work you did previously or adjust to other work because of your medical condition. Being totally disabled should prevent you from being able to successfully perform a job.

Your condition must have already lasted for a year, be expected to last for at least one year, or be expected to result in death.

The SSA has a list of qualifications along with a list of disabling conditions that automatically qualify for SSDI. It can be difficult to be approved for this benefit as the requirements are strict but having supportive medical documentation from your treating physician is key.

Process of Applying

You should apply for SSDI as soon as you become disabled and are unable to work. The disability claims process can be long, so it’s best to get started on your application as soon as possible.

Before applying, be ready to provide information about yourself, your medical condition, and your work.

The SSA provides two checklists to review before you apply; Adult Disability Interview, and Checklist for Disability Application. Both of these resources can help you prepare for the process of applying and help ease any stress you may be experiencing.

You can Apply for SSDI Benefits online or if you cannot use these online services, your local Social Security office can help you apply.

What Happens After Approval?

Under the law, your payments can’t begin until you’ve been disabled for at least five full months. Payments usually start with your sixth month of disability.

Generally, your disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition has not improved, and you can’t work. SSDI is intended to be a long-term benefit for those experiencing a total disability, it is not often that those who are approved for SSDI lose their benefits.

Keep in mind that if you are approved for SSDI, it may interact with other federal benefits.

Federal Disability Retirement Offset

If you are approved for both Federal Disability Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance, there will be an offset.

The first year you receive both benefits, your Federal Disability Retirement annuity will be reduced by 100% of your SSDI benefit. Every year after, your Federal Disability Retirement will be reduced by 60% of your SSDI.

Even though there is an offset, receiving both benefits can still provide additional income in the long run.

If you are a federal employee with an injury or illness, you don’t want to risk your future. There are a lot of options that can provide financial security for years to come, and we want to help ease the process for you.

Harris Federal Law Firm has helped over 8,000 federal employees apply for Federal Disability Retirement, and we’ve seen how this benefit has transformed so many people’s lives, especially when combined with SSDI.

Schedule a FREE consultation today to see how we can help you.

Message us & find out if you qualify today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent Articles

Yes, You Can Work after Federal Disability Retirement

Have you looked at your Federal Disability Retirement annuity, a knot of uncertainty coiling in your stomach as you question - will it be enough? Have you ever wondered if you could keep working after being approved for Federal Disability Retirement? You can work...

The 4 Key Benefits of Federal Disability Retirement

Imagine a lifeline, a beacon of hope for your future when you're struggling with an injury or illness that’s impacting your federal job. That lifeline is Federal Disability Retirement. If you can't perform at least one of the essential functions of your role, you...

6 Key Reasons Why Your Disability Retirement Application Was Denied

Have you recently applied for Federal Disability Retirement, only to receive a denial? The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is denying more initial applications than ever. However, it's important to understand that a denial does not mean the end of the road for...

Federal Employee Resources

Our ever growing library of federal employee resources give you the knowledge you need to make smart choices about your future.


Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers you need on-demand, from a team of federal employee benefits professionals.

View FAQ

Federal Benefit Webinars

Twice per month we host webinars to help federal employees better understand their benefits and answer their questions LIVE.

See Webinar Schedule

Benefit Guides

From guides to detailed charts, these educational resources will help clarify confusing federal employee benefits topics.

See our resources