If you recently became disabled and plan to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, then you likely understand that the application process can be complex and that you must meet strict requirements to obtain and keep these benefits.
However, you may have heard some common myths that led you to believe that the application process is more lengthy and confusing than it is or that you may not qualify for benefits at all when you likely do.
Read on to learn about four Social Security Disability myths you may have heard and the truth behind these common misconceptions.
Myth #1: You Must Wait 12 Months After Becoming Disabled to File for Benefits
Many people who develop a disability believe they cannot apply for disability benefits until they have been absent from the workplace for at least one full year. This myth likely stems from the fact that Social Security Disability benefits are typically only granted to applicants whose disabilities are expected to last 12 months or longer.
The truth is that there is no waiting period after developing a disability before you can file for benefits, and you can and should apply for benefits as soon as your disability impairs your ability to work.
However, if you already waited 12 months after becoming disabled to apply for benefits due to belief of this myth, you will be happy to hear that after an applicant’s claim is approved and they begin to obtain benefits, they receive disability back-pay that dates back to the onset date of their disability and not the date they applied for benefits, after the mandatory 5 month waiting period.
There is a limitation to this, Social Security has a 12-month rule; they can only back-pay 12 months prior to your application date.
Myth #2: Social Security Disability Benefits Include Only a Monthly Check
Another common misconception about Social Security Disability is that the program only offers beneficiaries a monthly cash payment that they can use to cover their living expenses. However, several additional Social Security Disability benefits are typical to most beneficiaries, although some are not immediately available after your claim is approved.
Twenty-four months after you are eligible for benefits, you will be eligible to enroll in Medicare, including Medicare Part A (hospital), Part B (other medical), and Part D (prescription drug coverage).
You may also be provided additional benefits for any dependents you care for under the age of 18. In addition, your Social Security earnings record will be frozen while you obtain disability benefits, which ensures your time spent disabled does not lead to a reduction in your retirement benefits.
Myth #3: Your Disability Must be Included in the Blue Book to Obtain Benefits
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of health conditions that they consider disabling impairments that is available to the general public. This list is designed to help the newly disabled determine if they qualify for disability benefits. This list is often referred to as the Social Security Disability blue book.
Typically, if your disability is included in this book, you automatically qualify for disability benefits as long as your application is properly completed, includes sufficient medical evidence that you suffer from the stated disability, and your claim is properly submitted.
However, a common misconception is that your disability must be included in this list in order to qualify for disability benefits. The truth is that if you have a disability not listed in this book and can prove that it interferes with your ability to work, or if you have a combination of less severe disabilities that impair your ability to work, you may still be able to obtain Social Security Disability benefits.
To determine if your disability or combination of disabilities will qualify for disability benefits, speak to an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability law.
Myth #4: You Cannot Work While Obtaining Social Security Disability
One common myth that many disability applicants and beneficiaries believe is that you cannot work at all while obtaining disability benefits. If you engage in limited work now and enjoy this work so much you do not want to stop altogether, then you may think that you will not qualify for Social Security Disability at all unless you quit your job.
The truth is that you can work while obtaining disability benefits, as long as your monthly income falls below a certain threshold. This income limit changes every year, but as of the year 2020, Social Security Disability payments are not typically affected as long as a benefit recipient earns less than $1,260 a month before taxes or $2,110 if the recipient is blind.
However, you may put your benefits at risk if you work too much. Speak to your Social Security Disability attorney to see if your work habits are likely to affect your ability to obtain disability benefits.
If you recently developed a disability and plan to apply for Social Security Disability insurance, you now know the truth behind just a few of the misconceptions surrounding this program.
Contact the experienced Social Security Disability insurance attorneys at Horn & Kelley P.C. Attorneys At Law for help applying for Social Security Disability insurance or to obtain the answers to any of your disability insurance questions today.