When you file for Social Security disability benefits in Illinois, it’s important to understand the application and filing process, as well as timelines and waiting periods that impact when SSDI benefits begin and how long benefits continue once payments are approved.

If you need help with SSDI benefits in Illinois, Ankin Social Security disability attorneys can guide you through the process and help you get approved. Call us for a free case evaluation at 872-529-8377.

When Do SSDI Benefits Begin in Illinois?

According to the Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDS) in Illinois, more than 300,000 people currently receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the federal agency that handles Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). The most common disability programs include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI benefits are based on work history, while SSI benefits are based on financial needs. Most Illinois residents with disabilities will qualify for one of these two programs.

SSDI Qualifications

To qualify for SSDI, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be under the age of 67 or your full retirement age
  • You must have a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death
  • You must be unable to work because of your medical condition
  • You must have worked and earned work credits based on the amount of taxes paid into the Social Security program. In most cases, applicants are likely to qualify when they have worked at least 5 of the last 10 years.

Few SSDI applicants qualify automatically. You need to have a medical condition that qualifies for SSDI benefits based on conditions listed in the SSA Blue Book. This information informs medical professionals about disabilities and disability criteria. The Blue Book includes a “Listing of Impairments” that covers the medical conditions that qualify for SSDI and SSI.

Under the SSA guidelines, those who have a disability that prevents them from working and who earn a sufficient number of work credits based on their taxable income are eligible for SSDI benefits. The number of work credits needed to qualify for disability benefits depends on your age when your disability began. In 2024, one credit is earned for each $1,730 in wages or self-employment income. When wages reach $6,920, you earn 4 credits for the year.

In Illinois, SSDI benefits are available to workers and their family members when sufficient work credits are reached. When workers are approved but have to wait a long time for benefits, SSDI back pay is available. Back pay covers delayed disability payments that were held up during the SSDI approval process. How An attorney can help with obtaining SSDI back pay.

Disability Payments

When do SSDI benefits begin? Once your claim for SSDI is approved, payments usually begin in the sixth full month after the onset of your disability date. However, this timeline may be extended if your application approval process takes longer. How long does it take to receive a decision after applying for SSDI? The average waiting period for a decision on an SSDI application is 30 to 90 days, but wait times can vary according to the backlog in the SSA office where you apply.

In Illinois, the Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the state agency that makes the initial determinations about eligibility for Social Security disability insurance benefits. When you file an application, DDS will review the application, gather information to support your disability, and approve or deny your claim. Once your application is approved, you will receive monthly benefit payments for your disability under federal and state guidelines. In Illinois, the average SSDI payment is $1,413.31 per month.

Duration of SSDI Benefits

Typically, SSDI benefits will last as long as a person continues to have a disability. Changes to disability benefits may occur if a person receiving benefits goes back to work or if his or her disability improves. For individuals who receive SSDI benefits until the age of 65, benefits will not suddenly end. SSDI benefits will change to Social Security retirement benefits.

According to legal requirements, the SSA must review disability cases on a regular basis to ensure people who are getting disability benefits still have a qualifying disability. These reviews are called Continuing Disability Reviews, and they are given to everyone who receives Social Security disability benefits. The time between these reviews depends on whether your condition is expected to improve. As a general rule, benefits are reviewed every 18 months, every 3 years, or every 7 years depending on your condition and your chances of improvement.

When the SSA reviews a disability case, they will notify the person receiving benefits of his or her eligibility status for continued benefits. If the person is found to still be disabled, he or she will continue to receive benefits.

If you’re receiving SSDI benefits, make sure that you are seeing your doctor regularly. Medical documentation is required by the SSA for continued benefits. If you receive a notice from the SSA about a Continuing Disability Review, you should respond as soon as possible, or you may risk losing your benefits.

The most common reasons that SSDI benefits end include:

  • The disabled person returns to work
  • The disabled person’s disability improves
  • The disabled person serves time in jail or prison

If your work status changes, you should notify the SSA of the changes as soon as possible. You are required to report the following changes:

  • You start or stop working
  • Your work tasks, work hours, or work pay changes
  • You begin paying for disability-related expenses that you need to work

If you return to work while you are receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits, you may be able to receive SSDI benefits for a specified amount of time. If you earn more than $910.00, the SSA will consider it a trial work month. In such cases, you are allowed to continue receiving benefits until you have 9 total trial work months within a 60-month period.

If your SSDI benefits are denied or lost, Social Security disability attorneys can help with legal advice and questions on SSDI claims and benefits. If you are planning to file a disability claim or need help with an existing claim, you should know how to find a good disability lawyer with experience that represents your best interests.

How Does the Renewal and Review Process Work?

The SSDI disability review process relies on an applicant’s previous work history, the severity of his or her disability, and how long he or she will be out of work. To determine disability, the SSA uses a 5-step process that includes important questions. The answers to these 5 questions will determine eligibility for SSDI benefits:

1. Are You Working?

The SSA uses earning guidelines to evaluate an applicant’s substantial gainful activity (SGA). If the applicant is working in 2024 and earning more than $1,500 monthly, or $2,590 if blind, the applicant will not be considered to have a qualifying disability. According to SSA guidelines and disability benefits 101, you are not allowed to engage in SGA if you are disabled.

2.      Is Your Condition Severe?

The applicant’s condition must cause significant limitations on his or her ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, standing, bending, reaching, lifting, and remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, the applicant will not be considered to have a qualifying disability.

3.      Is Your Condition on the List of Disabling Conditions?

The SSA maintains a list of medical conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent a person from performing SGA. If the applicant’s condition is not on the list, the medical condition is compared to similar conditions that are on the list and evaluated for disabilities.

4.      Can You Perform Your Previous Work Duties?

If the applicant’s impairments do not prevent him or her from performing past work duties, the applicant will not be considered to have a qualifying disability. If previous work duties can’t be performed, the SSA will evaluate other types of work duties with similar characteristics.

5.      Can You Perform Any Other Types of Work?

The SSA will evaluate other types of work for the applicant based on his or her medical conditions, skill levels, past work experience, education, and age. If the applicant can do other types of work, the applicant will not be considered to have a qualifying disability.

If you live in Illinois and need help with SSDI benefits, contact us for a free case evaluation. Our experienced Chicago Social Security disability lawyers can make the process easier and faster.