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Misconceptions about Social Security Disability Claimants

There are many common misconceptions about the millions of Americans with disabilities who collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. As noted in a recent article from AZ Central, many people think that the Social Security Disability Insurance program pays money to people who never worked a day in their lives, so they can continue to stay at home and not work.

question-mark-1323680-mThis misconception could not be farther from the truth. In reality, the Social Security Disability Insurance program is only available for people who not only worked to earn a living but also worked long enough to qualify for benefits. As the name implies, the Social Security Disability Insurance program is a kind of insurance policy for every working American who pays taxes.    

As our Boston disability benefits attorneys can explain, every time you get a paycheck, some of the money withheld for taxes goes to fund the programs managed by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA operates two basic funds. First, there is the Social Security retirement fund. This is the money you will earn each month when you reach retirement age.

In addition to the Social Security retirement fund, there is the Social Security disability fund. This disability fund is used to pay for the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSDI program is available to anyone who worked long enough to earn the requisite number of quarterly credits and has suffered a disability that is not work-related. If the disability was directly related to an on-the-job injury or illness, the employer would first apply for workers’ compensation benefits.

The number of quarterly credits a worker needs to have earned prior to suffering a debilitating injury or illness depends on the age of the claimant at time of disability. For example, a 19-year-old worker would not have had to work as many years as someone who is 40 years old prior to the date of disability. The system is set up so that by working and earning quarterly credits, the employee has paid his or her premium for coverage through tax withholdings in order to qualify in the event he or she suffers a disability.   In other words, the program would not be available to someone who has never worked for a day in his or her life, contrary to the common misconception of this being the case.

It is also important to the note, there are aspects of the SSDI program designed to get people back to work without losing their benefits. This is known as the Ticket to Work program. The reason why people would want to return to work if and when they are able is because the system is specifically designed so that a Social Security disability claimant cannot earn as much in benefits as he or she would from working. This is another myth or misconception many people have about the program: they believe people can sit at home and make more money than they would through working.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Social Security disability helps people who work, September 10, 2015, AZ Central, by Kimberly Yellow Robe

More Blog Entries:

Social Security Disability Claims Process, Jan. 23, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog