Debunking the Top Myths about Social Security Disability

Submitted by Shane on

There is no doubt about that there are rumors abound in the world of Social Security Disability benefits. There are plenty of myths being circulated from who can and cannot receive benefits to how long it takes to receive a check. How can you tell fact from fiction? If you want to truly understand Social Security Disability benefits, you need to know the truth behind the top Social Security Disability myths. Here are the top five myths that people often buy into.

Myth #1: You Can't Receive Social Security Disability Benefits if You've Never Worked

While there is some truth to this myth, there are exceptions to the rule. Yes, your Social Security disability benefits are determined by “credits” that you earn when you pay into the system. In order to qualify for disability, you need to have enough credits on your Social Security Disability earnings report. However, there are certain situations where you can still receive Social Security Disability benefits, even if you haven't worked a day in your life.

If someone has been disabled since childhood and the disability was determined before they reached the age of 22, then that person can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits under their parents' income history. Even though this child is now an adult, the disability occurred prior to adulthood and Social Security Disability benefits can still go into effect.

If you cannot claim Social Security Disability under the guidelines above (due to parents not earning credits or disability not being diagnosed before age 22), then you may still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program. Supplemental Security Income is a needs-based program run by the Social Security Administration. If you are disabled and you have never worked, you may qualify for SSI if your household income and assets are within established guidelines.

Myth #2: You Can't Earn Any Money While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits

It is true that you cannot earn a substantial income while receiving Social Security Disability benefits. After all, Social Security Disability benefits are intended for those individuals who are unable to work. That doesn't mean that you can't earn any extra income at all, however. When receiving Social Security Disability benefits, you can make some extra money to live on as long as it doesn't exceed $720 per month. Don't be afraid to take a few dollars here and there to babysit, help family and friends or even sell a few items on eBay. It will not interfere with your Social Security Disability benefits as long as your income does not exceed the established guidelines.

Myth #3: Social Security Disability Benefits Cannot Be Garnished

It is true that most creditors cannot garnish your Social Security Disability benefits, however, the government is an exception to this rule. If you default on a student loan or other government debt, then your benefits may indeed be garnished, but only up to a certain amount. In most cases, no more than 15 percent of your Social Security Disability benefits may be garnished to repay a defaulted debt.

Myth #4: It Will Take Years to Go Through the Disability Application Process

While it is true that some claimants will have to wait months or even years for their Social Security Disability claim to be approved, that is not the case for everyone. If you have a condition that qualifies for the Compassionate Allowance program, your application may be processed in as little as 20 days. Even if your claim does not fall under the Compassionate Allowance program, it is possible to receive a decision in just a few months.

Myth #5: It is Better to Re-apply for Social Security Disability Rather Than File an Appeal for a Denied Disability Claim

This is definitely not the case. If your initial disability application is denied, you will likely be denied again if you file a new claim rather than going through the proper appeal process. The Social Security Administration denies about seventy percent of initial claims. If yours is one of them, make sure you appeal the decision within the 60-day time period to increase your chances of receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

Social Security Disability can be an overwhelming and often confusing topic of discussion. It is important to have your facts straight when applying for benefits, and that means being able to sort the myths from the truth. While there is often a seed of truth hidden within most Social Security Disability myths, the top five myths shown above a prime example of the fact that rumors can be much worse than the actual facts concerning Social Security Disability.

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