Disabled Boston Residents Applying for Social Security Still Wrongly Targeted by Politicians

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program has not been around as long as the Social Security Old Age and Retirement benefits program, but it has been around for more than six decades.  Despite its fairly long history and real data showing how many millions of Americans with disabilities would not be able to make ends meet without it, those who apply for disability benefits, and the system itself, are both easy targets for politicians on the campaign trail.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits in Boston is Not an Entitlements Program

Boston SSI casesThe trouble mainly stems from an effort to label all public assistance programs as “entitlements” and to call all those who seek these benefits lazy, and say there is no reason they can’t be working.  As discussed in a recent news article from Vox, contrary to the popular myth being pushed by politicians, those on disability generally wish they were not disabled and could go to work.  As also discussed in this article, one of the main proponents of this myth is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.  Mr. Paul has made inflammatory statements including that more than half of those who receive Social Security disability benefits are either “anxious” or their “back hurts.”While it is true mental illness is a serious problem in America, as our Boston Social Security disability lawyers at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can explain, it takes a lot more than simply being anxious to qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits. There are essentially two requirements for a claimant to qualify for SSDI benefits. The first is they must have paid into the system.  This means they must have worked for enough years to be considered insured.

SSDI Beneficiaries in Boston Are Required to Have Paid into The System

This alone shows why were are not dealing with an entitlements program.  As we have said before, SSDI is not a form of welfare.  It is a program whereby people who work pay money to the government when they receive a paycheck. If an individual is self-employed, thus generally not receiving a paycheck every two weeks, they actually pay more to the disability fund than a person with a traditional employer in most cases.  This is because a self-employed individual is responsible for paying the employer’s share of federal withholdings making it a payment of around 15 percent instead of the 7.5 percent most employees are required to pay.

If an employee has not earned enough quarterly credits, as they are called, an employee will not have been deemed to have paid into the system and is generally not eligible to receive SSDI payments.  There is a possibility of receiving another type of disability benefits known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but this is something about which a prospective claimant should speak with his or her Boston disability benefits attorney.  In any case, if you are required to work to qualify, it is hard to see how one could consider this an entitlements program like welfare.

Proving a Disability in a Boston Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Case

The next step in the process is to establish claimant is disabled within the meaning of  Social Security Administration (SSA) regulations. It is important to keep in mind SSA uses a very different definition of what it means to be disabled than an average medical doctor.  We know this because most claimants start the process by applying for benefits and attaching a letter from their primary care physician (PCP) to the application as medical evidence in support of their claim. In the clear majority of cases, SSA will reject these applications even though they are supported by a letter of opinion from a medical doctor saying they are unable to work due to their respective disabling medical condition, or more often, a combination of one or more disabling conditions.

Part of the problem is SSA never has enough money to pay all claims so they simply seem to reject applications without regard to whether claimant is actually disabled.  As discussed in the article, more than 60 percent of all applicants are rejected even after going through the lengthy process, which can take years in many cases. This is one reason all claimants should speak with an experienced Boston SSDI attorney because having an attorney representing you during the application and appeals process can greatly increase the likelihood of successful outcome.  This is not to say results are guaranteed in every case, but having an experienced attorney on your side fighting for your rights to a full and appropriate benefits award, will certainly up the odds of a successful outcome.

There is really no reason not to have such an experienced attorney since the system is set up in such a way that there is no cost or legal fees owed by claimants unless and until they are successful in obtaining benefits and even then, the legal fees are not paid out of pocket, but rather  by SSA from the retroactive benefits award. Retroactive benefits are essentially back pay from time of onset of disability to date when benefits are actually awarded and paid.  As we discussed above, this can often take a year or more, so there is likely to be a sizable retroactive benefits award owed to claimants in cases where benefits are eventually awarded.

The system was also set up so a claimant can not make as much as they did when they were working in most cases. The monthly benefits is set at the level of what congress and SSA determines to be substantial gainful activity.  As of the time of this blog post, that monthly benefits limit is around $1127 per month, which is obviously less than most people can earn even at a full-time minimum wage job in most areas.  This alone should dispel the notion that most disabled Americans are just sitting at home collecting benefits since it is easier than working.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Reminder: people on disability insurance wish they didn’t have to be, March 8, 2018, By Julie Bogen, VOX

More Blog Entries:

Boston SSDI Lawyers: In Defense of Social Security Disability Benefits, Feb. 24, 2018, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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