Social Security Fake News: Don’t Be Fooled by Myths

When you or a loved one can no longer work due to illness or injury, it’s often experienced as a family crisis: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) could be a lifeline. SSDI provides a safety net for people unable to work, but there are specific eligibility requirements. Both the requirements and the process can be confusing.

It’s a tough time. You’ve heard about the federal government program, SSDI. You wonder whether you or your loved one are eligible. Maybe you go online or ask a former co-worker or friend. The information is confusing—and because you’re not well, possibly in pain, or undergoing medical treatment, you are vulnerable to misinformation.

SSDI Myths and Misinformation

Facts and Myths Sign in Chalk on the SidewalkIt seems as though everything knowable is available online—news, articles, books, images, and entertainment. However, much of the information is not factual. In many cases, statements are untrue. We call these statements “misinformation.” When misinformation spreads across the internet or by word of mouth, these distortions of the truth turn into myths.

Myths That Could Hurt Your Social Security Disability Claim

As you seek to learn about SSDI and what you can expect, here are some of the myths you may encounter.

Myth: The Process Takes Too Long and Is Very Stressful

While it is true that the process can drag on for a very long time, that is not always the case. The Social Security “Blue Book” describes impairments that prevent a person from doing any gainful activity. If you have one of the listed impairments, the process is likely to go faster. If your medical condition is on the Compassionate Allowances list, the process is streamlined.

Collecting the necessary documents to supplement your application can be stressful. However, once you put these documents into the hands of a trustworthy lawyer, you should feel the greater part of the burden is off your shoulders.

Myth: SSDI Is a Welfare Program

You earned the right to receive SSDI payments through your work-related payments into the U.S. Social Security trust funds. The Disability Insurance Trust Fund pays disability benefits. These are not a “government handout.”

Myth: If Your Illness Is Temporary, You Won’t Qualify

The Social Security Act’s (SSA) criteria for determining whether a person is “disabled” and, therefore, eligible for benefits does not require permanent disability. The stated criteria are:

  • Inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity
  • A medically determinable physical or mental impairment responsible for the inability to work
  • Such impairment is expected to result in death or to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months

Myth: Once on SSDI, You Can Never Go Back to Work 

If you have an illness or injury which may improve to the point that you can work, the fact that you qualify for benefits at one point in time will not prevent you from working in the future. Not only can you return to paid employment once you are well, but you can also work within your personal limitations and SSA income limits while receiving benefits.

Myth: Most Applications Are Denied

While many applications are denied, there is an appeals process that does increase an applicant’s chances of receiving benefits. It’s important to evaluate the merits of your own case and not be too discouraged by what you hear through the grapevine.

Myth: Anybody Can File an SSDI Application; an Intelligent Person Doesn’t Need to Hire a Lawyer

It’s true that a lawyer is not required to file an application or an appeal, or to participate in a hearing. But while the process may sound simple, it does not lend itself to a do-it-yourself approach. For example, a person may associate their type 2 diabetes with Covid-19. However, the important issue from the point of view of SSDI is whether the applicant suffers from any of the severe diabetes-related health conditions and is, therefore, unable to work.

Social Security law limits attorney’s fees. Before signing a fee agreement, you should feel free to discuss the fee for handling your case with your SSDI disability lawyer.

Consult a Professional Social Security Disability Lawyer

Keefe Disability Law provides exceptional service to clients in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Start getting the answers you deserve by downloading a free copy of our report, The 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability, and contacting us to schedule a free consultation.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer
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