Social Security Disability Myths

The process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be intimidating due to the large amount of rules and requirements surrounding eligibility. Many individuals have pre-conceived ideas about disability benefits which may prevent them from applying entirely. Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions regarding SSDI benefits which confuse potential claimants and delay them from starting the process.

Take a look at some of the most common myths surrounding Social Security Disability:

Everyone who applies for benefits is initially denied.

There is no rule that the Social Security Administration (SSA) follows that requires all first time applicants to be automatically denied, although it may seem that way; about 70% or 2/3 of applicants are denied at the initial level. This means only 1/3 of applicant will be approved for benefits on their first try. There are many common reasons for denials, with the most common being application errors or providing insufficient evidence.

You are automatically approved if you have a certain medical condition.

This is a misconception based on the fact that the SSA uses a list of severe conditions that automatically classify a claimant as disabled. The key word is disabled, not approved. You still need to file an application and provide enough medical evidence to the SSA to prove your disability. Medical records must be submitted that shows evidence of the condition’s existence and its effect on your ability to work. You also need to meet the non-medical requirements in order to be approved.

You cannot work if you are applying for benefits.

You are still eligible to receive benefits while working as long as your monthly earnings are below what the SSA calls a Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level. If your monthly income in 2013 is lower than the $1,040 SGA level, you may apply for benefits. If you earn above a SGA level, the SSA will not consider you disabled even if you have an impairment because the severity of your disability would not prevent you from being gainfully employed (an exception is unsuccessful work attempts or closed periods of disability).

Keep in mind that just because you did not earn above a SGA level while being impaired does not necessarily mean you will be approved, as the SSA or the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may determine you are underemployed, were not actively seeking work, or were not working up to the limits of your impairment.

You are entitled to benefits if you are unable to perform your previous job.

In order to be eligible for benefits, your impairment must prevent you from performing ANY gainful employment, not just your previous job. Disability Determination Services (DDS) will determine whether your impairment prevents you from performing your previous job, as well as finding another field of work which you may be suited to work despite your impairments. If you are able to perform a different job with your disability, you will be denied benefits. Note that this does not mean that DDS is required to find you an actual job, just to determine if you are able to perform in certain fields of work.

You cannot receive benefits if you are far from retirement age.

If your impairment prevents you from performing substantial work, and you have enough work history, age should not be a factor in determining eligibility requirements for receiving benefits.

You cannot receive disability benefits if you are receiving workers compensation benefits.

You may be eligible for both workers compensation and disability benefits simultaneously, although the amount of disability benefits you receive may be reduced depending on the amount of workers’ comp you receive.

A supporting statement from a physician will automatically make you eligible for benefits.

An extensive review of all medical history is necessary even if a physician gives you a favorable diagnosis. A doctor’s letter can help, however, if it provides enough detail and the physician answers follow up request to provide more information. Treating physicians opinions are weighed more heavily than those of a Consultative Examiner (CE), and the Administrative Law Judge must accept the doctor’s statements as fact (unless there is an issue regarding the doctor’s credibility relating to diagnosing the impairment).

One of the best ways a treating physician can help yours claim is by providing a Medical Source Statement called a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form, which details the effects that a claimant’s physical or mental impairments have on their ability to work.

Call Our Florida Social Security Disability Attorneys Today

These are just a few of the many myths that exist regarding disability insurance. In order to avoid being denied once or multiple times, it is important that you fully understand the process and have someone helping you along the way.

The dedicated Florida Social Security disability attorneys at The Trial Professionals, P.A. have spent decades helping clients with their disability claims. We can assist you in any stage of your claim, from application to appeals. We are not afraid to stand up for our clients, and will aggressively fight for your benefits in front of an administrative law judge if necessary.

Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for clients over the years. Call us today at (855) 375-9959!

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