Myths and the Truth About Social Security Disability

Many people are under the mistaken assumption that Social Security benefits are only available once they retire. However, Social Security encompasses more than just retirement income, as it provides compensation for those who have become disabled due to a variety of physical or mental impairments that prevent them from being able to earn an income on their own. Any person who suffers from a disability is considered eligible for benefits if the disability is expected to last for at least 12 months or end in death for the sufferer. If you have a disability that lasts less than a year and/or is not inevitably fatal, it is considered partial or short-term disability by Social Security and would not be eligible for benefits. Factors such as your age and your work experience count toward how much coverage you can receive.

According to Social Security, 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching the age of 67. Did you know that Social Security doesn’t pay for the first 5 months? That’s called the 5-month waiting period, and  it may take a lot longer than 5 months before you get to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In today’s economy, even two-income families struggle to make ends meet. If you’re disabled or your family is supporting a disabled person, it’s a fine line between making ends meet and hanging by a thread.  You then have to turn to social services and charity and/or family and friends for financial help while waiting for your Social Security disability hearing which can take as long as 2 ½ to 3 years.

If you’re disabled, you can’t work. If you can’t work, you should get Social Security Disability benefits. All you need is a statement from your doctor that you’re totally disabled from work and you’ll get Social Security Disability benefits easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, those benefits are not easily won. In fact, more than 2/3 of all initial applications are denied.

Q. Why are a majority of Social Security Disability applicants turned down?
A.  Because many applicants don’t quite understand Social Security’s requirements it has set down.  You must be unable to do any type of work, not just what you are trained to do. For example, you probably don’t qualify for SSDI if you can do a sit-down job answering a phone. However, you may qualify if you have to elevate your leg above your heart for 2 hours in a 8-hour period that knocks you out of nearly all sedentary jobs.

The government provides Social Security Disability benefits for conditions that include:

–        Diabetes
–        Heart disease
–        Arthritis
–        Blindness
–        Orthopedic injuries
–        Paralysis
–        Neurologic disorders, and even
–        Depression and anxiety.

On your own it can be difficult to meet Social Security’s definition of disability, even if you are truly suffering from a debilitating condition that prevents you from working. As such, many people are turned down on their first try to obtain benefits. However, it is possible to appeal the decision, which in legal terms is asking for reconsideration. This will not automatically ensure that you receive benefits and if you are turned down again, you can then request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge to plead your case. This is where the legal team at Affleck & Gordon comes in. We can help you appeal your case and prepare for a successful outcome.The sooner you start receiving disability benefits, the sooner you can get on with the life you deserve. Contact us today for your no cost, no obligation consultation.

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