If you are suffering from a disability and are unable to work or support yourself, Social Security disability benefits can provide the financial relief you need and deserve. Unless you have an extensive background filing for these benefits, however, you may feel overwhelmed as to where to start the process. A good first step is to educate yourself more about these benefits and the steps that it takes to qualify to receive them.
Valuable Truths About Social Security Disability Benefits
In order to help you learn more about Social Security disability benefits, the following are eight important truths every applicant should consider:
- Disability benefits will not replace all of your work-related income, but they can provide a much-needed safety net during a time of significant financial need. It is true that, generally speaking, disability payments are fairly modest. That is because the system is designed to help people meet basic living needs, not keep them in the same manner of living that they are accustomed to. As a result, disability benefits replace some, but not all, of the income lost as a result of the applicant’s disability.
- Obtaining disability benefits does not necessarily mean that you can never return to work. The program has special rules that allow applicants to find their way back to the workforce without jeopardizing their initial benefits. For example, some applicants may be able to return to work for a trial period to see if work is possible without requiring the recipient to give up all of their benefits first.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. Many people are reluctant to begin the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits because they have heard that most people are denied. While the standards for obtaining benefits may be strict, and the process for applying may be extensive, that does not mean that people with genuine disabilities will not qualify for the benefits they deserve. The initial rejection rate tends to be high. However, applicants have the ability to appeal the decision. If the SSA determines that you are in fact disabled and eligible for benefits, you will then be approved.
- Obtaining a doctor’s statement certifying that you are disabled is not enough on its own to qualify you for benefits. That being said, obtaining a professional medical opinion that you are disabled is important to your application. Your doctor must provide details about your condition, must be credible, and must provide honest and detailed information. The information contained in the opinion is very useful and often necessary to the disability benefits application process.
- Your ability to collect disability benefits will not necessarily continue indefinitely into the future. The Social Security Administration reviews the medical condition of its benefits recipients on a periodic basis. For people with conditions that are expected to improve, the first review usually occurs between 6 and 18 months after the date on which the recipient first became disabled. For people with conditions from which it is possible to recover, but the ultimate outcome of recovery is unpredictable, the reviews conducted by the SSA typically happen once every three years. People with conditions that are not expected to improve are typically reviewed every seven years.
- Disability benefits do not kick in immediately after your disability occurs or you file your application. In reality, the processing time for applications may take between three and five months. Once the request is approved, you will receive a letter with your effective date. The first disability payment you receive will be for the sixth full month following your disability effective date. Payments will continue until one month after the date of recovery.
- Social Security disability benefits are designed for people with long-term disabilities. In fact, you cannot even apply for benefits unless your disability is expected to last at least 12 months, or if the condition is so severe that it is deemed terminal. People who need short-term or partial disability payments must look elsewhere for relief.
- Applying for disability benefits is not an easy process. You must gather as much information as possible in order to support the claims you make in your application. Fortunately, applicants are entitled to seek guidance. An excellent first place to start is to find an experienced attorney who can offer you assistance. In addition, it is usually a good idea to seek out patient advocacy groups. These groups offer much-needed support to their members. An experienced Social Security disability attorney may be necessary if you are denied during the first pass and then need to later file an appeal.
When you are ready to start the process of applying for Social Security disability benefits, we are here to help. We encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation at 888-904-6847.