Social Security Myths and Misconceptions

There are numerous social security myths and misconceptions circulating amongst the public, which often deters seriously impaired persons from availing themselves of financial support to which they are entitled under the law. We list a few of these:

Myth: You must be out of work for more than 12 months in order to receive Social Security Disability.

Social Security’s definition of disability is that you have a condition that has or will prevent you from working at a substantial level for 12 months or more, or will result in death. The 12 months doesn’t have to have already occurred. Although SSA can look at the past, they can also look at your disabling condition and determine whether it will keep you from working substantially in the future.

Myth: You can’t work at all to receive Social Security Disability.

Social Security looks at what they call “substantial gainful activity” when determining whether or not you are disabled. They assign a dollar amount to what they consider to be substantial and it changes every year. It’s $980 per month in 2009 for non-blind individuals. As long as you are working at a level that is under substantial gainful activity, you can still file and be approved for disability benefits.

Myth: You cannot work and received Social Security Disability benefits at the same time.

Actually, SSDI encourages recipients to get back to work. If your earning are relatively low, you can collect disability at the same time as you work. If your work activity is substantial, it still may only be considered to be a “trial work period” until you demonstrate an ability to continue working basically full-time, earning more than $980./mo.

Myth: You start receiving benefits as soon as you are approved for Social Security Disability.

You actually have to serve a full five-month waiting period from your onset date, which is the date SSA finds you disabled. Also, benefits are paid a month behind.

Myth: You cannot be approved for Social Security Disability if you have abused alcohol or drugs.

If drug or alcohol abuse is found to be a “material” factor in your disability claim you will not be found disabled. This does not mean that one who suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction cannot be found disabled. The alcohol or drug addiction must be found to be a contributing factor material to your disability. The SSA will first determine if you are disabled with all of your conditions including your addiction. If they decide you are disabled Social Security will then decide if the addiction was not present would you still be disabled?


Contact our office to discuss your case, without cost or obligation at: 303-797-3311

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