SSDI mythsDisabled and considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits? Don't automatically believe everything you've heard through the grapevine or read from questionable online sources. Myths and misinformation abound—and if you aren't careful, they can significantly and negatively impact your ability to receive much-needed benefits. Here's what you need to know.

Myth #1: Everyone Is Denied the First Time They Apply

While it's true that roughly 70 percent of applicants are denied in the initial stage, these denials are often due to mistakes in the application or a lack of sufficient medical documentation. You can greatly improve your chances of approval by carefully and correctly completing the application and including extensive medical evidence supporting your disability claim. Our experienced Social Security disability attorneys can help you successfully navigate the application process.

Myth #2: Submitting a New Application Is Better Than Appealing a Denial

Contrary to popular belief, SSDI denials aren't arbitrary or used as a tactic to discourage applicants from seeking benefits. They often indicate problems with the application or insufficient evidence of a qualifying disability. If you simply file another application without correcting mistakes or including additional documentation, you'll likely receive another denial. Our knowledgeable attorneys can review your application for errors and handle your appeal.

Myth #3: If Your Doctor Says You're Disabled, You'll Automatically Be Approved for Benefits

The disability examiner evaluating your SSDI application determines whether you're approved for benefits, not your doctor. However, if your doctor has diagnosed you with a disabling condition, you can work with them to obtain the medical documentation you'll need to include with your application to support your disability claim.

Myth #4: SSDI Benefits Are Only Available to People With Permanent Disabilities 

If you've been diagnosed with a disabling terminal illness or a disability that's lasted—or is expected to last—for 12 months or longer, you may qualify for SSDI. Our adept disability attorneys can help you explore your eligibility and apply for benefits.

Myth #5: SSDI Benefits Totally Replace Your Work-Related Income 

SSDI benefits are modest payments that serve as a financial safety net for people with disabling medical conditions. They don't—and aren't intended to—entirely replace work-related income.

Myth #6: You Can't Work While Collecting SSDI

SSDI recipients are allowed to earn a small income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages beneficiaries to reenter the workforce if they can and even provides a nine-month trial period in which people can work while still receiving benefits. However, if you're still working and participating in a substantially gainful activity (SGA) after the nine-month trial period, the SSA will no longer consider you disabled. Consult an attorney to discuss how returning to work may affect your SSDI benefits.

Myth #7: SSDI Applicants Always Wait Years for Approval 

Though the SSDI application process can be lengthy, that doesn't mean that all applicants will have to wait years for approval. For example, individuals with certain serious or terminal conditions may qualify for expedited approval through the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program. Even if you don't qualify for a Compassionate Allowance, carefully completing your application with the assistance of a seasoned attorney—and including the necessary supporting medical documentation—can help you receive a decision more quickly.

Myth #8: Past Substance Abuse Issues Disqualify You From Receiving SSDI Benefits

Don't let a past problem with drugs or alcohol discourage you from applying for the SSDI payments you need and deserve. As long as your disability wasn't caused or significantly worsened by your drug or alcohol use, you may still qualify for benefits. Our attorneys can review your claim, help you apply, and even appeal a denial, if necessary. 

Let Our Skilled New York SSDI Attorneys Handle Your Claim From Start to Finish

The SSDI application process can be lengthy and complicated, but with the help of a dedicated Social Security disability attorney, you can improve your chances of approval. Contact O'Connor Law PLLC today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your disability case with a member of our accomplished legal team.