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There are a lot of myths about SSDI floating around, some are true but most are not. In an effort to sort fact from fiction, here are five common myths about SSDI and the truth behind them.
1. If a doctor says you’re disabled you automatically qualify for SSDI benefits.
This might seem logical, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes a legal decision, not a medical decision. However, it is important that the doctor you see be credible and qualified to declare you disabled. The SSA will require you to provide detailed information about your disability when you apply.
2. SSDI will replace most of your income.
Sadly the average monthly SSDI payment in the beginning of 2015 was only $1,165. This payment is intended to help you buy the essentials, not completely replace your income.
3. SSDI payments start immediately.
This is far from true. Due to the large amount of applications the SSA gets, processing can take up to six months. In most cases, if your application is approved, you’ll likely have to wait a while to receive your first payment.
There is also a five month waiting period to receive payments. For example, if your disability is said to have begun on March 1, you will not be eligible for benefits until the month of August; however, you will not receive this payment until September, because payments cover the previous month. Unfortunately, if your disability begins after the first of any month that month does not count as part of the five month withholding period.
4. Once you qualify for SSDI you qualify for life.
It is possible to be on SSDI for life, but it’s not automatic. SSA conducts disability reviews to see if your condition has improved. The type of disability you have will determine the frequency of your reviews. If your disability has improved, you may face a denial of continued benefits.
5. It’s pointless to apply, you don’t qualify.
While the criteria are stringent, you should always apply if you feel you qualify. In 2013 the SSA reported a 33% approval rate. It is common to be denied on your first application, so don’t be discouraged.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law