Slepian Smith, PLLC

Three of the biggest myths about SSDI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) causes confusion among many people. Like a lot of government processes, misunderstandings and myths persist year after year. Today, we would like to debunk three of the most common myths we have heard about SSDI.

Myth No. 1: SSDI replaces the income you were earning.

Usually, SSDI only supplements the income a person made while working and does not replace it completely. That’s because the benefits are intended only to make sure basic needs are met. For example, in 2018, the average monthly SSDI payment was $1,197. Most recipients received somewhere between $700 and $1,700 per month.

The amount a recipient receives depends on his or her earning history and how much he or she paid into payroll taxes, which help fund SSDI.

Myth No. 2: It is impossible to qualify for SSDI.

While it may be difficult to qualify for SSDI benefits, it’s certainly not impossible, especially with an experienced attorney’s help.

According to an August 2018 report from the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, about 8.6 million Americans receive SSDI. Overall, 64 percent of SSDI applications are denied and 34 percent are approved. Of the applications approved, 21 percent are allowed on initial application, 2 percent are allowed on reconsideration and 11 percent are allowed on appeal.

As you can see, it is possible to be approved for benefits even after the initial application is denied. An experienced disability attorney can help make sure the application is complete and meets requirements.

Myth No. 3: Disability payments begin immediately.

Unfortunately, it can take three to five months to process the application. Then, if benefits are approved, the recipient will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration that provides a disability effective date. The first payment will not kick in until the sixth full month after the disability effective date, and it will not be received until the following month because SSDI is paid one month after the month it covers.

However, SSDI can apply retroactively for the months the disability was present prior to applying for benefits.  So, it is possible to receive benefits for months prior to applying for or qualifying for benefits so long as the disability was present and the other requirements are met.

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