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Three common myths about Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)

Although you may have heard from well-intentioned friends or acquaintances that SSDI is always denied, your benefits will equal your income, or a host of other things, the truth is more complicated. You should consult an attorney who has experience with SSDI claims for all the facts, but below are three of the most common myths about SSDI.

1. My SSDI application will be denied

You might have heard that it is extremely difficult to qualify for SSDI. It isn't easy, but more than 35 percent of applicants are approved. Additionally, many more applicants qualify upon appeal.

The main criteria the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider are:

  • Your current employment status and the amount of time you have worked in SSDI-eligible jobs
  • The severity of your condition (Will it prevent you from working for at least one year? If not, is it terminal?)
  • Whether your condition is on their list of qualifying disabling conditions
  • Whether you can work in the same capacity you previously did
  • Whether there is any other work you could be doing

2. SSDI will replace my entire income

SSDI was put in place to help disabled people with basic needs such as food and shelter, not to replace their entire income. As of January 2015, the average monthly benefit was $1,165. The SSA uses specific formulae to determine your benefit amount. It uses multiple variables, including how much income you have earned over the course of your career and the financial resources you have available such as part-time work.

3. If my doctor has diagnosed me with a disability, I will automatically qualify for SSDI

Your doctor can diagnose your condition medically, but whether you qualify for SSDI is a matter of legality. The two are not the same. The SSA maintains a list of qualifying conditions and special circumstances. If your condition is not on the list, you may still qualify for benefits, particularly if you have multiple conditions.

Your doctor may be consulted for additional information at this juncture. Bear in mind that your doctor must have good standing within the medical community and be able to provide appropriate documentation regarding your condition. Your treating doctor, however, is almost always the best person to provide information about your medical condition to the SSA.

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