Three Social Security Myths: Busted
I frequently speak with clients, potential clients, and members of the community, who have various misconceptions or misunderstandings about Social Security disability. Three of the most common myths are: once you are receiving benefits, you receive them for life; benefits are designed to be a short-term answer; and if my doctor says I am disabled, I am sure to qualify for benefits.
Taking them one by one, the first myth is that once you begin to receive benefits, you will receive benefits for the rest of your life. This is not the case. While many claimants may receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for life, it is not automatic. Your medical condition will periodically come up for review by the Social Security Administration (SSA). During that review, SSA will pull most recent medical information to determine whether you have made a medical improvement that is significant enough to allow you to engage in the substantial gainful activity. If they find that you have improved, they will terminate your benefits. If they find that your condition has not improved, they will likely continue your benefits until the next review.
Typically, if your condition is expected to improve, the first review is around 18 months after you are first found to be disabled. Reviews are normally done every three years.
The second myth – that SSDI benefits are meant to be a short-term program – is also not true. One of the prongs of qualifying for SSDI benefits is that your disability is expected to last at least twelve months, or if your condition is terminal. Therefore, if you have a short-term illness, a better option for you may be to touch base with your short-term or long-term disability provider.
The third myth is that when your doctor says you are disabled, you will automatically qualify for benefits. Unfortunately, this is not the case. SSA uses both legal and medical determinations to decide if you are disabled under their rules. The doctor who treats your disability will have a say through their medical records, and therefore, it is important for them to be credible, honest, and provide detailed information about your condition, the diagnosis, and the prognosis.
If you have any questions about Social Security Disability, contact a local Social Security attorney today at (904) 777-7777.