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SSD and SSI Myths

SSD and SSI Myths

All New Social Security Claims Are Denied

This may be the most common misconception about Social Security Disability Insurance, and while it is not strictly accurate, it is partially true. The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives an average of 2.5 million new claims for disability benefits every year, it is denies approximately two-thirds of these. In 2011, the figure was 1.1 million. The face that you have been denied SSD benefits does not, however, mean that you will not eventually receive benefits. There are four levels of appeal, and people who contest the decision to deny will frequently be successful in obtaining benefits.

Social Security Disability Is Welfare

While programs like Medicaid and food stamps are means-tested and are reserved for the indigent, the reverse is true of Social Security Disability. In fact, someone who has not been steadily employed is not likely to be approved for SSD. Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance is based not only upon having a qualifying disability, but also upon having accumulated sufficient credits by working for a long enough period at a job where your wages were subject to the FICA payroll tax, which amounts to more than 15% of what your employer could pay you if the tax weren't mandatory. If you have had the misfortune of being forced out of work due to a disability, it is your right to claim the benefits you have been helping to pay for.

Only Certain Conditions Are Eligible for SSD

It is true that the SSA maintains a long list of illnesses and injuries which are so severe that they are automatically qualified for coverage. This list is not, however, exclusive. Provided that your condition makes it impossible for you to continue working for at least a year or has been diagnosed as being terminal, it should be qualified. In such cases, it is important to ensure that the application for benefits includes ample evidence and medical documentation so that the Disability Determination Services examiner can clearly recognize the facts.

You Cannot Claim SSD and SSI at the Same Time

Since Supplemental Security Income is a means-tested program, you will not be approved for benefits if your income and existing financial resources are above a certain threshold. This does not mean that you will automatically be disqualified if you begin receiving SSD benefits, and in fact many people are able to receive both types of benefits.

I Don't Need an Attorney to Represent My Claim

This is actually true-strictly speaking. There is no legal requirement that you hire an attorney to represent you, but if you are serious about having your claim approved for the maximum amount with the least possible difficulty and delay, you should retain legal representation. Indeed, the SSA reports that 90% of claimants do have representation. An attorney from Clawson & Clawson, LLP can assist you with every aspect of your claim, from the initial preparation to resolving complications and even representing you in a request for reconsideration or a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge.

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