Social security disability insurance (SSDI) is a readily available program that offers ongoing financial help for those suffering from long-term disabilities. Unfortunately, not nearly as many people take advantage of the assistance this program can provide due to belief in a number of common SSDI myths, including these ten:
Myth #1: Denial is almost certain.
The two grains of truth in this myth are that most people don’t get approved for SSDI on their first application and that only about a third of those who apply in any particular year are approved for benefits. However, the truth is that many do get approved and you can always re-apply.
Myth #2: A doctor’s opinion can guarantee approval.
It is true that the opinion of a medical professional that you are indeed chronically disabled is of great help. But this is no guarantee of approval. The final decision is up to the SSA.
Myth #3: The paperwork is impossible.
It is true that SSDI paperwork and documentation is quite demanding and needs to be complete and relatively detailed, but many others have successfully navigated this paperwork hurdle in the past.
Myth #4: SSDI payments will only be short-lived, at best.
In fact, it is only those with disabilities that are reasonably predictable to be long-term who are allowed to enroll for SSDI benefits. While other programs may provide short-term assistance, SSDI is designed for the long-term.
Myth #5: SSDI approval equals lifelong benefits for certain.
While SSDI is designed for long-term conditions, conditions are generally reviewed every six to 18 months. Thus, it is possible that many on SSDI will improve and no longer receive benefits.
Myth #6: SSDI benefits will cover your whole loss of income.
Although average monthly benefits under SSDI in 2015 were over $1,100, the program is only meant to provide for “basic living expenses.” It does not match your income lost due to the disability.
Myth #7: SSDI payments will begin immediately upon approval.
It takes three to five months to process a claim, and your first payment is scheduled six months out from your “disability date.” And finally, that first payment comes seven months out since payments are made at the end of the month.
Myth #8: SSDI-coverable disabilities hardly ever occur.
This is simply not true. The SSA tells us that a quarter of lifelong workers will suffer a qualifying disability sometime between age 20 and retirement.
Myth #9: Hiring a lawyer is the best way to begin an SSDI application.
The best beginning would actually be to talk to your doctor and see if he/she thinks you are disabled. Your doctor may advise you to try medications and therapies to attempt to remain in the workforce.
Myth #10: You must plod through the application process alone.
There are many groups offering assistance to SSDI applicants, such as the National MS Society and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And you can download the SSDI guidebook and find a lawyer, if necessary, through the NOSSCR.
300 Spectrum Center Drive, Suite 1550
Irvine, California, 92618
Phone: 949.748.6470, Fax: 949.748.6474