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Exploring Misconceptions About Social Security Disability

If you are eligible for SSDI, the benefits paid to you and your family can help you manage the challenges of your disability and provide an income you can rely on. However, filing for disability can be frustrating and confusing.

There are many misconceptions surrounding the application process, filing an appeal, and disability benefits overall. The more you understand, the more likely you are to have a successful application process by submitting what you need to submit. 

Misconception: If You are Denied, You Won’t Get Disability Benefits

When you apply for Social Security disability, Social Security calls you a “Claimant”. There can be up to 5 steps to Social Security Disability:  Intake, Reconsideration, Administrative Law Judge Hearing, Appeals Counsel, and Federal Court appeal.

There are a lot of Claimants who are denied. Some people who apply don’t qualify because they are not “disabled” per Social Security, but some are denied due to missing information that was needed for review.

It is very common if you are under age 55 that you will have to appeal multiple times to get your disability benefits.  If your application has been denied, then you can appeal the decision, and we encourage you to do so.  You only have 60 days to appeal, so it is important to begin the process as soon as possible.

If you are denied, then complete the online appeal form.  Social Security will review your file, and the appeal team may ask additional questions, order records, or request a medical evaluation.

Although you can do the initial application on your own, it is always recommended to have an experienced SSDI attorney assist you through your appeals process.

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Misconception: Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits is Welfare

Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) is not welfare.  SSDI is funded by the payments you made into Social Security from your paychecks while you were working.  You are eligible for SSDI once you’ve earned enough work credits. The amount of money you have paid into Social Security will determine, in part, how much you receive.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a welfare based program. SSI is intended for adults and children who meet the disability definition but have not paid in enough to Social Security to be eligible for SSDI.

Misconception: Receiving Disability Benefits Guarantees Permanent Support

Disability benefits are not permanent for all recipients.  Here are some factors that can trigger reassessment or termination of disability benefits:

  • Medical Improvement: the Social Security Administration (SSA) may determine that you are no longer disabled if your medical or psychiatric condition improves. Disability benefits are reevaluated every three to seven years. If your condition is no longer debilitating, then you may lose your benefits.
  • Return to Work:  Social Security will encourage you to attempt to work again by giving you a few months you can get your benefits and try to work.  But, beware!  A work attempt can put your benefits at risk. After a few months of working and earning, Social Security may deem you able to work and cut off your disability benefits.  Always seek legal advice prior to any work attempt.
  • Retirement Age: Once you reach retirement age, then you will receive payments under the Social Security retirement program instead of SSDI.
  • Exceeding Income Limits for SSI recipients: Other sources of income can push you over the income or asset limit for SSI disability benefits.   This includes income from alimony payments, pensions, child support, spousal income, inherited assets, or any additional income or asset resources. This is a common reason Claimants lose their SSI benefits.
  • Incarceration: Some convictions can cause Claimants beneficiaries to lose their benefits.

Misconception: Legal Representation is Unnecessary

While you are not required to have an attorney, if your initial application is denied and you are facing the appeals process, there is a significant benefit to having legal representation during your appeal. Having an experienced SSDI attorney to assist you in gathering evidence and presenting your case during the appeal will improve the chances of a successful approval.

Misconception: If Your Doctor Thinks You are Disabled, You Have Nothing to Worry About

Your doctor may think that you are disabled, but that doesn’t mean your application will be automatically approved. The disability criteria is specific to the Social Security Administration, and they will make the final determination as to whether or not you are disabled. Evidence from your doctor can certainly help your application, but it is still important to get as much medical documentation as possible to include with your application.

In addition, SSDI benefits are not comprehensive or immediate. If you need help managing your medical expenses, you will likely need to look for other support programs in the interim.

Having accurate and complete information can make the difference between receiving benefits and being denied. If you have applied for SSDI and been denied, having an experienced attorney to help you navigate the appeals process is the most efficient way to get through it.  If you are eligible for SSDI and have been denied, contact Arthur Law Firm right away (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation. We can help you through this process to secure your disability benefits.