If you read the newspapers or listen to the news, it is easy to think that those receiving Social Security Disability benefits are underserving, lazy people who are taking advantage of the system. However, this is incorrect. Most Americans on Social Security Disability would rather be working. Let me address some of the myths associated with social security disability in hopes that others understand more and judge less.
MYTH #1: Americans on Social Security Disability Benefits Are Receiving FREE Government Benefits.
FACT: Social Security Disability Benefits Are Not Governmental Handout
Many Americans believe that those who receive social security disability benefits are receiving free benefits from the government. This is simply not the case.
Social Security Disability benefits are part of an insurance program that Americans pay premiums for every paycheck. Presently, the current tax rate for social security is 6.2% for the employer and 6.2% for the employee, or 12.4% total. This means, employees pay up to $8,537.40 in “premiums” each year for Social Security “insurance” benefits.
Someone who has not worked enough is not entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Generally, the number of work credits workers need to qualify for Social Security disability benefits is 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year the worker becomes disabled. It is clear that you must have worked long enough and recently enough in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Disabled workers receiving Social Security Disability benefits are NOT getting free benefits from the government. Rather, they are receiving the benefits they paid for through their social security taxes on their paycheck. That is why it is an honor for me to help Americans fight to obtain the social security disability benefits they have earned.
MYTH #2: It is Easy To Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits.
FACT: Social Security Defines “Disability” Very Strictly.
In my Social Security Disability practice, I am often asked why one person is receiving social security disability when “they aren’t even disabled.” Somehow, people believe they can determine another person’s disability without checking medical records or living in their shoes.
The truth is that in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, a person must meet the definition of disability under the Social Security Act which states that a person is disabled if he or she can’t work due to a severe medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death. Not only must the person’s medical condition prevent him or her from doing work that he or she did in the past, it must prevent the person from adjusting to other work.
There are some medical conditions that the Social Security Administration has determined are so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled. However, many people applying for social security do not have these exact medical conditions so it must be determined that the applicant’s condition is of equal severity to a medical condition that is on the list. To determine this and prove that he or she is disabled, the applicant must prove their condition interferes with their ability to do the work she or she did previously. If it does not, the person is not disabled. If it does, there is still further inquiry. Even after a person proves he or she cannot do the work they did in the past, another step is added to prove they are disabled – the ability to adjust to other work despite the medical condition. The applicant must prove that considering their medical conditions, their age, education, past work experience and any transferable skills, he or she cannot adjust to other work. Only then, with the person be considered disabled.
Proving a qualifying disability is difficult. It requires extensive evidence of the extent of a person’s disability. It simply is not something that is easily determined.
MYTH #3: Social Security Disability Payments Are Significant
FACT: Social Security Disability Benefits Barely Keep a Person Above Poverty
The media and others would like people to believe that those receiving Social Security Disability benefits are enjoying an easy, financial stress-free life. The truth is they are barely surviving and could much more if they could work.
The estimated average Social Security disability benefit amount for a disabled worker receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is $1,258 per month as of December 31, 2019. These benefits are based on average lifetime earnings, not on household income or how severe the individual’s disability is.
For many beneficiaries, their monthly disability payment represents most of their income. Although social security disability benefits are helpful, most times they simply allow people to meet basic needs and the needs of their families. They must struggle financially to meet other financial demands. That is why most Americans on social security disability would rather be working and earning money than being on Social Security Disability.
As attorneys for so many good people fighting for Social Security Disability benefits after working so hard and making their premiums for this protection, it is frustrating that so many Americans do not understand the facts about Social Security Disability benefits. Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson help those fighting for their social security disability benefits. They are the authors of two books pertaining to qualifying for social security disability benefits. Attorney Matthew Noyes is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. For a free consultation about you qualifying for social security disability benefits, call us at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free consultation.