Every Tuesday, Social Security Attorney Taylor Potts will expose some of the more frequent myths surrounding Social Security Benefits. Be sure to “like” our Facebook page and stop back each week as Attorney Potts takes you through The Twilight Zone – Social Security Style. If you have questions about Social Security Disability or VA Disability benefits, contact Attorney Taylor Potts at (304) 845-9750.
You are about to enter a land beyond what many of us know. A land that could almost be considered a different dimension. A dimension of medical records, vocational classifications, administrative law judges, and functional limitations. Strap yourself in and get ready as we enter the twilight zone of Social Security Disability benefits.
WARNING! PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Social Security Disability can be a strange and confusing land, but allow me to be your guide as we (hopefully) shed some of this mystery and bring it back into the realm of reality. In this series, we will take some of the most common (12 to be exact) misunderstandings, or myths, about Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income and help explain why these myths are not necessarily true and why the myths became so pervasive.
Myth #1: No One Wins On Their Initial Application
One of the most pervasive myths surrounding Social Security Disability benefits is that it is impossible to obtain benefits on your initial application.
Myth #2: The Magic Number 50
Our second myth will explore the question of how much age plays a factor in determining if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Most people believe it is impossible for younger individuals to get Social Security Disability benefits, or that you can only get Social Security Disability benefits once you are a certain age (be that 50, 55, or older).
Myth #3: But My Doctor Said..
One of the more common things I hear from prospective clients when discussing Social Security Disability benefits is, “my doctor told me I was disabled,” or some other version of this statement. While it’s a good idea to take the advice of your doctor to apply for or consider disability benefits, please understand that your doctor’s comments do not guarantee you will be awarded disability benefits. It is simply not true that because your doctor states you are disabled that you will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.
Myth #4: Substance Abuse and Disability
Oftentimes I hear people say that they know someone who has been awarded disability benefits because they are an alcoholic because they can’t keep a job due to drug use, or some other version of this statement. Like many of the myths we have discussed so far, this is simply not true. The Social Security Administration does not and cannot find someone disabled due solely to drug or alcohol dependency or addiction. Thus, if the only basis for a claim is addiction issues, the claim will be denied as a matter of law by Social Security.
Myth #5: Any Work Precludes Disability
For the most part, Social Security “asks” seven questions when making the decision on an individual’s disability benefits. The first of which is, “are you engaged in a significant gainful activity?” In plain English, “are you currently working and earning enough money to be considered full-time by Social Security’s rules?” If the answer is yes, and you are working and earning income at or above Social Security’s level, then the examiner or administrative law judge would look no further into your claim.
Myth #6: Do You Have to Be Disabled for a Year Before You File?
Many people believe you have to be disabled for a full year before you can apply for disability benefits. However, this is simply not true. You can apply for Social Security Disability benefits at any time and can be approved at any point, so long as you are determined disabled, regardless of when that disability took effect.
Myth #7: Only One SS Benefit to Rule Them All
We are over halfway through our series of myths regarding Social Security Disability benefits. Today, we will be looking at something I hear all the time when I discuss benefits with clients and potential clients. When I ask them what type of Social Security Disability benefit they applied for, the response is generally, “just disability,” or “is there more than one type?”
Myth #8: Certain Conditions Automatically Entitle You to Disability Benefits
There seems to be a persistent belief that certain conditions automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. Oftentimes this type of thinking is associated with severe, long-term conditions such as cancers, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and other incurable, degenerative health problems. However, as you should have come to expect by now, this is simply not true.
Myth #9: Once Disabled, Always Disabled
One of the questions I often get from people here in the Ohio Valley who are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits is, “but what if I get a job offer I think I could perform, or what if my conditions improve and I want to go back to work?” Many people think once you are found to be disabled by the Social Security Administration that you are considered disabled for life. This is simply not true. Regardless of the benefit type you are receiving, whether it be Disability Insurance benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Survivors/Widow’s benefits, or any other disability benefit, you are not necessarily considered disabled for life.
Myth #10: Helped, but Not Whole! How Much Will You Receive in Social Security Disability Benefits?
Most clients I talk with throughout Ohio and West Virginia seem to be surprised at the amount of money they will receive if approved for Social Security disability benefits. And most often the surprise is not a good one.
Myth #11: When Will I Start Receiving Payments?
Most people assume once they are considered disabled and approved for disability benefits by the Social Security Administration that they will immediately begin receiving payments, or that they are entitled to start receiving benefits on the day they are found disabled. This is unfortunately not the case.
Social Security Myth #12: My Insurance Coverage Will Continue After Approval of Benefits
Some of the biggest concerns expressed by claimants, and often mentioned late, are concerns over health insurance coverages once benefits are awarded. When an individual comes to me for help with their benefits, many times the prospect and their family are receiving little to no income due to their disability and inability to work.