Top 5 Myths About Social Security Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in November 2022 to reflect new Social Security Administration policy data. As a critical part of millions of Americans’ lives, Social Security disability is the subject of stories, rants, tips, and misinformation. Here are 5 of the most common myths about Social Security disability benefits. Then, learn the truth behind the disability myths based on recent SSA data:

Top 5 Myths About Social Security Disability

Myth 1: Everyone gets denied the first time they apply.

A common misconception is that everyone is denied the first time they apply for Social Security disability. This is simply untrue, in fact about 80% of applicants are denied the first time around. Out of the 80% denied benefits, most are technical denials, while the rest fail for medical reasons. Overall, applying for SSD benefits on your own can be a difficult process. Having an experienced lawyer on your side means submitting an error-free claim the first time.

Myth 2: Getting a disability attorney is too expensive.

Did you know that disability attorneys do not get paid unless you win? Even if you do win, attorneys can only charge you a set amount under federal law. As of November 30, 2022, attorneys cannot receive more than 25% of your past-due benefits up to a maximum amount of $7,200. If that looks high to you, consider this: In 2022 so far, the average fee the SSA withheld for each attorney has been $3,302.11. This means that these attorneys were able to win their claimants over $13,000 in a lump-sum payment on top of their monthly benefits!

Myth 3: You have to be out of work for a year before you can apply for SSD benefits.

It is not necessary to be out of work for a whole year before you apply. In fact, If your health prevents you from working for at least a year, apply for disability benefits right away. The sooner you apply, the faster you may get those much-needed benefits.

Myth 4: It takes years to be approved.

The amount of time it takes to win disability benefits is on a case-to-case basis. Some applicants may find that having a disability attorney on their side when applying for benefits can help speed up the claim process. For example, an attorney can make sure you submit all proper documentation and handle your appeal, if needed. In fiscal year 2021, it took 165 days, on average, for the SSA to process initial disability claims.

Myth 5: People who have never worked receive SSDI benefits.

In order to receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits you must have worked 5 out of the previous 10 years. You must also have contributed a part of your wages to Social Security through FICA payroll taxes. For most employers , is an automatic deduction from your paycheck. If you have never worked or contributed to the SSDI program, you may be eligible for SSI at a much lower monthly amount as a form of welfare, but not SSDI.

If you still have questions after reading these myths about Social Security disability, we recommend talking to a lawyer. Every attorney in our network offers free, no-obligation consultations to give confidential answers to all your claim questions. Whether you file on your own or with professional help from a lawyer, it’s always free to apply. However, having an attorney file your claim makes you nearly 3x more likely to receive benefits. The only time you’ll pay is if that lawyer helps you win disability payments. And if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

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Megan Kelly is a former blogger and copywriter for LeadingResponse.