We hear from clients everyday with various myths and misconceptions about the social security disability process. It’s important to be realistic about your case and understand that there are complexities with each case. The process may be long, and often intimidating, but we don’t want any of that to stop you from receiving the benefits that you deserve.
Social security is a great program for disabled Americans, but it can be a daunting experience to apply with all of the information that is scattered around online. Take some time to review some of the most common myths and misconceptions about SSD below. You also may be more qualified than you think you are!
Myth #1: I must be disabled for 12 months before I can apply
The truth is, you must prove that your disability will last longer than 12 months, or result in death. The application process does not have a minimum wait time. If you have stopped working, and have received a diagnosis that your disability will last at least 12 months, do not hesitate to start the SSD application process.
Myth #2: The best first step when applying for SSD is to immediately hire a lawyer
The best first step is to talk to your doctor. Additional treatment may be required to assist with your recovery. There may be different medical options, physical therapy, or the use of a wheelchair to help with immobility. Not only will this help with your health, but if you do begin the SSD application process in the future, you can establish that you have sought out all necessary treatments towards recovery, which will ultimately help your case.
Myth #3: My friend’s disability claim was approved right away so mine will be too
The social security administration evaluates many different factors when determining if you are disabled. Each person’s impairments, work history, and job skills are taken into consideration, and all may affect the potential outcome for each case. You may have received the same diagnosis as a friend, but that does not mean that your case will be reviewed with the same point of view.
Myth #4: If I have a severe disadvantage, I will receive my hearing sooner
In rare cases, a hearing can be expedited. Severe disadvantages include being without food and unable to obtain it, lacking medicine or required medical care, or lacking shelter and becoming homeless. Other exceptions include terminal illness, 100% permanent disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Military Casualty/ Wounded Warrior cases. Situations other than these rarely allow a case to be expedited, so patience (and focusing on your health!) is key.
Myth #5: I don’t need an attorney to win my disability claim
An attorney can ensure that all of the proper information has been obtained to return a favorable judgement. An attorney will quickly become indispensable in representing you at your hearing before a judge. The regulations that govern the SSD program are complex and a lawyer will be familiar with the evidence that is required to win a case.
Myth #6: If my doctor said that I cannot work, then I will be approved for disability
The decision to approve a claim for social security disability is a legal one, not a medical one. All evidence is taken into consideration when determining your eligibility for SSD. Your doctor’s opinion must be consistent with all evidence presented, and you must also have proven that you have sought all possible care, potentially including that of specialists for your condition. The process for approval is rigorous and the SSA wants to make sure that the person applying is truly disabled from a legal standpoint.
Myth #7: I can’t get social security disability if I own assets
SSD is designed to help people whose disability keeps them from working. For Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI), the SSA will consider bank account balances, cash, stock, bonds, and real estate holdings, but your house, and car (unless it is a luxury vehicle) are not counted. Insurance policies, burial plots and up to $1500 in burial funds (for you and your spouse) are also exempt. This asset limitation does not apply to DIB (Disability Insurance Benefits). Don’t let the assets that you carry stop you from getting the necessary assistance that you need!
Myth #8: If my hearing takes a long time, I have probably been denied
The SSD process can take a long time, but the length of time that you are waiting does not necessarily determine your likelihood for approval or denial. There are hundreds of thousands of people waiting for hearings nationwide, and you must file two appeals before you receive an administrative hearing. From the time you request a hearing, the wait time is nearly two years in South Florida. It may be difficult, but having patience and optimism is important.
Myth #9: Social security disability will replace my work-related income
Most SSD payments are modest. It is unrealistic to expect that your income will be replaced 100%. The payment is meant to help people meet basic living needs and designed to replace some, but not all of the lost income. Keep in mind, you can also receive other types of compensation even if you are qualified for SSD including VA benefits, long term disability insurance payouts, and in some cases worker’s compensation.
Myth #10: Once I begin to receive social security benefits, I will for life
Each case is different, but receiving benefits for life is not automatic. Depending on the severity of your condition, medical reviews are conducted periodically. If your condition is expected to improve, you will typically receive a review after 6-18 months. If your condition is expected to improve, but is unpredictable, your reviews are typically done every 3 years. If your condition is not expected to improve, your reviews are typically done every 7 years.
Don’t let these myths hold you back from receiving the assistance necessary for you to begin the application process to receive social security disability assistance.
At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients with their SSD cases and provide valuable information for those who are interested in filing appeals for their SSD case. Click here for more information about social security disability and how Seff & Capizzi can help.
If you need assistance with your SSD case, please call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 30 years of experience and offer a free consultation. We do not charge an up-front fee for social security legal representation.