SSD Myths

January 1, 2011

Social Security Disability Myths

1. "Companies won’t hire me because of my disability so I will be awarded benefits, right?"

Wrong. The Social Security Administration does not focus on whether you can get a job. Instead, SSA looks at whether you are capable of performing a job. Capability, not hireability, is the issue.

2. "I need to be permanently and totally disabled, so I’m not going to bother applying."

That could be a costly mistake. First, your impairment need not be permanent; it only needs to last 12 months. Second, you don’t have to be bedridden, especially if you are over 55. The amount of work you can be capable of performing and still qualify for disability rises with age.

3. "I can obtain reliable answers to my questions by telephoning SSA on their nationwide toll-free number."

If you can get past the busy signals and recordings, SSA’s 800 number is most useful for information about the retirement program, not disability benefit entitlement. One test found 25% of its disability-related answers wrong. Experienced disability lawyers can be a more accurate source of information.

4. "My application was denied, so SSA must believe I am capable of working."

Partially true. A state agency employee who works for SSA believes you are capable of work, but that employee does not have the final say and is found wrong more often than right when a judge reviews the decision. If your initial application has been denied, you should ask an experienced disability lawyer to review your case before giving up. Don’t delay, you only have 65 days from the date of your denial letter to appeal; otherwise you have to start over.

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