Chances are, you have a friend, neighbor or relative who claims to “know something” about Social Security disability. Of course, now that you are disabled, they want to share that helpful information with you.
There’s just one problem. Most of this information will be wrong, and if you act based upon this information, you can jeopardize your Social Security disability claim. Accordingly, we will dispel these twelve major myths regarding Social Security disability.
Myth 1: Everyone is entitled to Social Security disability.
Wrong. Social Security is a very complex system with a long list of requirements you will have to meet to be eligible to receive benefits.
Myth 2: My neighbor got Social Security disability and my condition is worse than hers, so I should get my benefits just as quickly.
Wrong. All Social Security disability cases are different. How long it takes to receive benefits depends upon many factors besides your condition – your case worker, her caseload, how complete and accurate your paperwork is and many, many more.
Myth 3: Not having an attorney will be more favorable to my case and will expedite the process.
Absolutely wrong! Having an attorney who understands the Social Security disability system will help you navigate through the bureaucratic maze faster, avoid costly mistakes and provide an easier, more beneficial experience.
Myth 4: I cannot get Social Security disability benefits because I have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Wrong. Every case is different. Substance abuse may prevent you from receiving benefits – but only if it is a ‘material factor’ causing your disability. A qualified attorney will be able to help you determine whether or not you will be eligible.
Myth 5: My doctor says that I can’t work so I should automatically be granted benefits.
Wrong. Nothing in the complex Social Security disability system is automatic. While your doctor’s opinion definitely helps your case, it is not the only factor that Social Security considers when determining eligibility.
Myth 6: I am receiving Workers’ Compensation or Long Term Disability so I cannot receive Social Security.
Wrong. You may very well be entitled to Social Security disability as well as other public benefits based upon your disability. An attorney who understands this area of law can help you, especially because Social Security is a federal program and workers’ compensation varies from state to state.
Myth 7: I tried to go back to work but could not; however this will count against me being out of work for a year.
Wrong. Whether or not you qualify as having been “out of work” will depend on several factors, including the number of hours you worked and the amount of money you made.
Myth 8: Social Security denies everyone the first time they apply for benefits.
Wrong. While Social Security does deny the majority of applicants – approximately 65% – denial is not automatic and should not be expected. If you handle all aspects of your application properly, or if your case is clear cut, there is a chance that you will not be denied. Additionally, a denial does not end your case. You have the right to appeal your case and request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge.
Myth 9: The best way to appeal a denial is to file a new claim and not wait for a hearing.
Wrong. If your initial claim is denied, filing a new claim will force you to go through the difficult application process again. When you appeal your claim, you have an opportunity to present your case in person at a hearing in front of a judge, and your chances of success will be significantly better. A qualified attorney will ensure that you present the strongest case possible.
Myth 10: There are certain disabilities or medical conditions that will make Social Security automatically approve your claim.
Wrong. As we have stated in the past, nothing involving Social Security is automatic. However, there are some conditions (known as Compassionate Allowance medical conditions) for which Social Security will put your case on a fast track.
Myth 11: If you are approved, you will automatically get back pay (past due benefits).
Wrong. Again, nothing is automatic. Every case is different. Whether or not you are entitled to back pay depends upon when your disability is found to have started.
Myth 12: You can win your disability claim even if you have not been seeing the doctor or you were discharged from treatment.
Wrong. If you are disabled, the Social Security Administration will not just take your word for it. You need to be under a doctor’s care.
As you can see, there are a lot of questions and mistruths out there regarding Social Security disability. That is why the Disability University exists – to help you navigate through this complex system and ensure that your claim is handled properly and that you receive the benefits that you deserve.
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