Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) exists for a logical reason. Those who have worked hard to support themselves and their families can get hurt or develop a medical condition that leaves them unable to work and struggling to cover basic cost of living expenses.
By making regular contributions to the Social Security Administration (SSA) through payroll withholdings, working adults fund disability programs and retirement programs. Most workers will eventually claim Social Security retirement benefits after they reach the age of 65, but some people will find themselves unable to work before they reach the established age of retirement.
These individuals could potentially qualify for SSDI, but many people who could get benefits never apply for them. They have heard rumors that make them think the application process isn’t worth the time or stress involved. What misinformation deters potentially qualified applicants from asking for SSDI when they need it?
The idea that everyone gets denied
Perhaps the most common and insidious of all Social Security myths is the claim that the SSA denies every single applicant at first. The statistics simply do not support that assertion.
According to data provided by the SSA itself, SSDI applicants over a 10-year period between 2006 and 2015 had an average approval rate of 34%. Only 23% of workers received approval for a claim when they initially filed, which means 11% of applicants only got their benefits after appealing.
They think the benefits aren’t worth the effort
There is no question that what you received from SSDI will be less than what you received from your job. There will be a difficult adjustment period during which you will need to change your standard of living and monthly budget.
However, even if SSDI benefits fall well below what you earned before your injury or illness, having dependable income is invaluable when you can no longer work to support yourself.
They worry they can’t claim retirement benefits later
Insurance works by pooling contributions to make payments to those in need. Some people will contribute to insurance for years and never once make a claim. The SSA receives contributions from all paid workers in the United States and uses those to fund benefits.
Even if you have to claim benefits for years longer than other people because of your disabling medical condition, making claim before retirement age will not prevent you from receiving retirement benefits when you are over the age of 65.
Learning more about SSDI benefits may give you the motivation you need to start the application process or appeal a recent decision.