Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits begin to pay out when you are no longer able to do any substantial work due to a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last long term.
While the two programs sound very similar, they are actually different, and this also happens to be one of the biggest misconceptions when discussing social security benefits.
You do not have to be disabled in order to qualify for SSI, for example, like you do with SSDI because it is rather a financial need-based program and not a disability program.
The following are a few more of the more common myths that are floating around about SSDI and the information you need to know.
Myth Number One: I am completely healthy, so I don’t have to worry about disability
Like many things in life, disability is unpredictable, so you never will really know how soon you may need it. Even if you are healthy, in your 20s, and long from the age of retirement, it is still something you should begin considering because it can mean the world to your future financial health and well-being.
Myth Number Two: Most of the people receiving social security benefits aren’t actually disabled.
The eligibility requirements for social security benefits are very strict, so if you take a closer look and research it further, you will find that the people receiving SSDI are actually some of the more severely impaired people in the United States. In addition, the program also pays out benefits to workers who can no longer perform due to their detrimental disability.
Myth Number Three: Social security benefits are always based on how much income you have earned in the preceding seven years.
Social security benefit amounts are based on lifetime earnings. This means that this number can be adjusted to represent your actual earnings and also accounts for any changes to your income.
Social Security then uses these numbers to calculate your average monthly earnings during the first 35 years in which you were able to earn the most money. That formula is then also applied to the earnings to calculate your basic benefit amount, otherwise known as your primary insurance amount.
Myth Number Four: I am already receiving workers compensation, so I can’t qualify for Social Security Disability benefits at the same time.
It is definitely possible to receive both benefit types at the same time. However, the benefits you receive may be restricted or reduced based on the amount of benefits you get from the other program. There needs to be a balance between the two benefit types, but it is still possible to receive them both.
Myth Number Five: To win my case involving Social Security Disability Benefits, I need to have a lawyer.
Everyone is able to file the application for benefits; however, it does show statistically that many people who apply alone are often denied in the first stage of the process. The denial can be due to a number of reasons; some of which may include missing or incorrectly filed paperwork, not enough medical documentation, or the claimant may be earning too much income at the time.
So, while you don’t necessarily need the assistance of an attorney, it may be in your best interests to get one to help you with the process and perhaps increase your chance of approval for benefits.