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Disability Lawyer > Blog > Social Security Disability > Social Security Disability Acronyms Explained

Social Security Disability Acronyms Explained


After a serious accident that results in a disability, or following a medical appointment in which you are diagnosed with a disabling condition, you might begin researching options for disability benefits. As you begin investigating disability benefits available through the Social Security Administration, you are likely to find yourself reading text materials that use a wide range of acronyms — abbreviations or terms created by putting the first letter of multiple words together to create a shortened term. These acronyms can be extremely confusing, especially since many of them sound alike and use the same or similar letters.

You should know that an experienced national disability benefits lawyer can help to ensure that you understand all terms properly and take all necessary steps to obtain disability benefits to which you are entitled, so you should always plan to work with an attorney. Yet we also know how important it is to have personal knowledge of your situation and circumstances even when you have a dedicated lawyer on your side. With that in mind, we want to provide you with more information about common acronyms and abbreviations used in Social Security disability materials.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) 

An ALJ hears SSDI appeals that occur at hearings, which happen if you are denied upon requesting reconsideration.

Continuing Disability Review (CDR) 

When you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, you should expect that you will undergo a continuing disability review, or CDR, which the Social Security Administration conducts at different intervals (depending upon the facts of your case) to ensure that you still meet the disability requirements.

Disability Determination Services (DDS) 

DDS handles disability claims at the state level.

Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) 

The federal benefit rate is for SSI recipients, and it is a monthly designated amount for individuals and couples. In 2024, the FBR is $943 per month for individuals and $1,415 for couples.

Social Security Administration (SSA) 

The SSA handles disability claims and administers benefits through SSDI and SSI.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) 

SSDI is a type of disability benefits program based on a person’s work history and disability status. To be clear, SSDI is not based on a person having limited assets, but instead by whether they have a disability as the SSA defines it and has worked long enough and recently enough to qualify. You can be anywhere from a very low earner to a very high earner and qualify for SSDI.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) 

Substantial gainful activity, or SGA, is what a person must not be able to engage in if they want to meet the definition of a “disability” that the Social Security Administration uses for determining benefits. What constitutes SGA is a dollar amount, and it changes annually. For 2024, for most people, SGA is $1,550 per month. If your disability is blindness, SGA is $2,590 per month.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 

SSI is a disability benefits program for which a person can be eligible if they have a disabling condition as the SSA defines it and have limited assets.

Trial Work Period (TWP) 

If you want to see if you are able to return to work — that is, if you believe you can begin engaging in SGA again — you can test it out without affecting your benefits during a trial work period, or TWP.

Contact a National Disability Benefits Attorney Today for Assistance 

Do you have questions about any aspect of Social Security disability or applying for benefits? Or do you need assistance with an appeal? No matter what type of inquiry you have concerning Social Security disability, our firm is here to assist you. Do not hesitate to get in touch with an experienced national SSDI benefits attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Barszcz for assistance.





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