Social Security Disability Insurance: Myth v. Fact

Much is misunderstood when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Some refer to it as an “entitlement program” or a type of “welfare,” when in fact recipients pay into it the whole time they are working. Others think it’s ridiculously easy to attain benefits, when the truth of the matter is many claimants wait months or even over a year, and often have to endure multiple levels of appeal.wheelchair7

Still, if you have been reluctant to apply for SSDI because you have been disheartened by some of the horror stories, know that your chances are much better when you’ve got an experienced, dedicated advocate on your side. In most cases, that help can be secured with a contingency fee arrangement, which means you don’t pay anything up front.

Here, we’ve complied a list of some of the most common SSDI myths we routinely here, and offer you some cold, hard facts to help you make an informed decision about whether to move forward on a case.

Why Should I Bother? I’m Only Going to Be Denied. Although it is true that the process is strict and rigorous, the reason is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) only wants to extend benefits to those who are really and truly disabled. In recent years, the allowance rate has been about 33 percent. In a fair number of cases, people are denied the first time they apply, but then are approved on their second go-around. Often, the denial stems from not being prepared – with the proper medical paperwork, affidavits, diagnosis, testing, etc. Your Boston SSDI attorney can help make sure you have what you need and that it gets to the right place.

SSDI Will Replace the Income I Lost by Not Working. You will not get rich on SSDI. The benefits are modest. However, for many families, they are a crucial form of financial support that keeps beneficiaries afloat when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. It won’t replace your income 100 percent, but it’s an important safety net.

My Doctor Says I’m Disabled, So I Should Qualify. Maybe. It’s certainly a good first step and having a doctor as an ally is important. But the determination of whether you are disabled in this instance is a legal one, not a medical one. Your doctor’s opinion isn’t the only one that’s going to matter. The word of a credible medical professional who can provide clear, detailed information is key. But there may be an independent medical exam from another doctor, chosen by the SSA. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is going to look very carefully at other factors too, such as whether your condition renders you unable to do any job – not just the job you have.

SSDI Benefits are for Life. They could be. But it’s not automatically guaranteed. There are regular reviews, the first occurring between 6 and 18 months after you are first awarded benefits. In cases where improvement is possible but not predictable, you’ll probably have a review within three years. In cases where there is no expected improvement, reviews are usually conducted every seven years.


The fact is, the risk of becoming disabled is higher than you might think. One in every four 20-year-olds insured for SSDI will become disabled before they reach retirement age.

If you have questions about SSDI benefits for yourself or a loved one, we can help you sort fact from fiction.

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:

Benefits for People With Disabilities, Social Security Administration

More Blog Entries:

Former NYPD Officer Pleads Guilty to $600,000 in Disability Benefits, June 28, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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