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Debunking myths about Social Security Disability Benefits


If you are disabled and expected to miss at least one year of work, or if your illness or injury is considered terminal, you may be considering applying for Social Security Disability Benefits. There are a lot of rumors out there about the application process and the program itself. It is important to get the story straight and separate the facts from the fiction.

Yes, the rate of rejection is high: about 66 percent of applicants are rejected, according to an Social Security Administration spokesperson. But, if you are truly disabled and able to prove it to the Social Security Administration, you may be successful in getting benefits. If two-thirds are rejected, that means that one-third of applicants are approved. If you follow the procedures properly and show enough proof, all hope is not lost. And, even if you are initially rejected, there is an appeals process to help you restate your case.

No, Social Security Disability benefits will not fully cover your lost wages. According to an SSA spokesperson, at the start of 2015 the average benefit was $1,165 per month. It is important to keep in mind that the purpose of the SSDI program is to help the injured or ill cover basic living expenses, not to fully cover lost wages.

Yes, it does take some time for payments to go out, even after acceptance. Processing of your claim may take up to three to five months, and your first payment will be for the sixth month following the disability effective date. So, if your disability is effective in January, you will not receive your first payment until August, as payouts are made at the beginning of each month.

Yes, help is available. The Social Security Administration's website offers a booklet and guide to help you along the way. There are also patient advocacy groups to offer advice.

Source: everyday health, "10 Myths and Facts About Social Security Disability Insurance," Kathleen Doheny, Accessed on Aug. 31, 2015

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