5 Myths about SSD Recipients

Website By John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law, Tennessee
Firm's Profile & Articles Law Firm's Profile & Articles
Phone Call (877) 580-7968Free ConsultationFree Consultation
As soon as people enter the workforce, a portion of every paycheck is deducted for the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund. During a lifetime, workers earn up to four “credits” per year, based on the number of hours they work and their income. If workers develop a disability, they will need a minimum number of credits to be eligible for SSD benefits.

Most people who have worked regularly over the years earn more than enough credits to qualify for benefits. However, that doesn’t make them automatically entitled to benefits. The Social Security Administration has rigid guidelines about the application process, including extensive evidence that a disability prohibits the applicant from working.

Some critics of the SSD system say
that many benefit recipients are lazy and don’t want to work. That’s the No. 1 myth about people who receive SSD. And here are four more common myths:

1) It’s easy to “fake” a disability.

The SSA combs through every piece of medical evidence in making a disability determination. Even when the evidence clearly shows the applicant cannot work, the SSA may require the applicant to submit to additional medical tests or an evaluation by a doctor of the SSA’s choosing. So, it would be nearly impossible to get benefits without having a disability.

2) SSD recipients never return to work.

The age range of SSD recipients spans generations. Older workers are much more likely than younger workers to suffer a disability, and they may not be able to recover as quickly, if at all. So, while younger workers are often able to return to work, older workers may have no choice but to continue receiving disability benefits until they reach the legal age of retirement (66), at which point they can transition to Social Security retirement benefits.

3) SSD recipients aren’t trying hard enough to find work.

Some jobs are more dangerous than others – construction, mining, and welding, for example. And many people in those occupations have never had another type of job. If they suffer a disabling back injury, they’re not likely to find an office job where they can sit at a desk, because they have no work experience that would qualify them for such a position. So, it’s not that SSD beneficiaries aren’t looking for work; some of them just can’t find any jobs for which they’re qualified.

4) People aren’t motivated to return to work when they’re getting checks in the mail.

Generally, most people earn entry-level wages when they first start working, and after being in the workforce for many years, incomes tend to increase. SSD benefits are based on one’s lifetime average income, so lower-paying jobs from years ago can be a drag on the average recipient. Workers who are accustomed to making a certain amount of money are often shocked to learn their disability payments don’t come close to replacing their income.

Applying for SSD benefits is a long and complicated process.

Many applicants have to endure a lengthy appeals process, because the SSA won’t approve their claim. Even in the rare instance that the SSA approves the initial benefits claim, applicants still must wait five months from the date of their disability before receiving their first check. In the meantime, families may experience extreme hardship due to loss of income and mounting medical bills.

SSD benefits are not charity. Workers pay into the disability trust fund, and they should be able to receive benefits when they need them.

The Law Offices of John R. Colvin focus primarily in the areas of Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Workers’ Compensation, and Social Security Disability. They represent clients in the Tennessee Valley region, including Tennessee and Alabama.

Copyright John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law - Google+
More information from John R. Colvin, Attorney at Law

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Find a Lawyer

Find a Local Lawyer