There are many myths that surround Social Security Disability benefits. Here are 4 common ones – and the truth behind them.
(1) If my application was denied, that means I can’t get benefits.
Over 70% of disability applications are denied the first time. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve or aren’t qualified for benefits. Every year, thousands of Social Security Disability applications are denied for a variety of reasons.
It may be that you didn’t provide enough information on your initial application for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to consider you disabled. Or you may have not been specific enough when describing your limitations to the SSA.
If you were denied disability benefits, don’t give up. The SSA has a whole process for disability appeals. There are several different levels of appeal, and you may be approved for benefits at any point in the appeals process.
(2) I need to be disabled for a year before I can get benefits.
You do not need to be disabled for a year before you can get disability benefits. In fact, you should apply for disability as soon as you are aware that you are unable to work due to your limitations. The reason for this is the way that Social Security awards benefits.
For Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits, the SSA will begin paying you disability benefits starting in the sixth month that you become disabled. That means for the first five months that you are considered disabled, you are not entitled to receive disability benefits.
What’s also important to know about SSDI benefits is that the SSA will only pay you back benefits for up to one year of your application date. If you submit your application within 18 months of becoming disabled, then you will receive back payments going back to the six months after you became disabled.
However, if you submit your application for SSDI benefits more than 18 months after being disabled, then you’ll only receive back payments for one year prior to your application. This means you could be losing out on months of benefits because you didn’t apply in a timely manner.
Receiving disability benefits usually takes months or even years, especially if you have to go through the appeals process. That’s why we recommend you apply as soon as you realize you are disabled.
(3) If my doctor says I’m disabled, I will be approved for benefits.
The way the SSA defines disability is often different than the way a medical doctor may define it. A doctor may tell you that you can’t go back to work at your job. However, the SSA may argue that you are still able to work at a different job, and are therefore not disabled according to their rules.
The SSA asks these same questions of each applicant to determine whether someone is disabled:
1. Are you working?
2. Do you have a severe medical impairment?
3. Can you do any of your previous types of work?
4. Can you adjust to any other type of work?
These questions need to be answered in a specific way before the SSA will grant you disability benefits.
The opinions of your doctors and other medical providers can still be helpful in proving to the SSA that you’re disabled. Medical records are key pieces of evidence that can be used in your disability appeals process.
(4) I don’t need an attorney to help me get benefits.
While you are not required to hire an attorney to get Social Security Disability benefits, having one can take away the stress of filing paperwork, and collecting the right information to prove your case can be invaluable. If you have been denied disability benefits, we may be able to help. Call RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.