Common Myths And Misconceptions About Disability

Managing the world of disability benefits can be complex. There is an abundance of information and advice out there, so how do you know which action steps to take? Our friends at Roose & Ressler understand that it can be overwhelming, so they’ve compiled a list of common myths and misconceptions to provide clarity and help you make informed decisions.

Myth 1: A Denial Means You’re Not Eligible

A denial doesn’t mean you’re not eligible for benefits. Many initial claims are denied, but the appeals process exists for a reason – to ensure deserving individuals receive the support they need. Be sure to file a request for reconsideration appeal within the 60-day appeal window. Many people with significant disabilities have to file one or more appeals before finally establishing that they are disabled.

Myth 2: The Decision Relies Solely On Medical Evidence

Medical documentation alone can result in a finding of “disabled” in some cases, but the determination of disability is often based on a combination of medical and vocational factors.  Medical evidence always matters and guidance from knowledgeable disability attorneys can strengthen your case, even if your initial documentation is sparse and to help you address the vocational factors that often come into play.

Myth 3: Working Means You’re Not Disabled

Part-time work that is not “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) does not disqualify you from disability benefits, though it is true that regular and sustained full-time work will always be considered to be SGA and is disqualifying. If your work is not SGA, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate several factors, including your medical condition(s), the limitations that result from them, and whether those limitations prevent regular full-time work.

Myth 4: Non-Compliance With Treatment Equals Automatic Denial

While following prescribed treatment is important and always recommended to enhance your chances of success, non-compliance doesn’t always lead to denial. SSA looks at each case individually, considering factors like treatment availability, its impact on your condition, and whether there are very strong reasons for declining a course of treatment or procedure. If Social Security does not have sufficient medical evidence to support your claim, they may schedule an exam for you to gather more information.

Myth 5: Appeals Are Useless

Appeals are an important part of the disability claims process. While initial denials can be disheartening, appeals offer an opportunity to present additional evidence, address inaccuracies, and advocate for your case more effectively. Many successful claims are approved only after several appeals. Having a legal team by your side can be particularly beneficial, as they can navigate the appeals process on your behalf and help to secure the benefits that you deserve

Myth 6: The Process Is Quick And Easy

Generally, the disability claims process tends to be lengthy and complex. Various factors can contribute to delays, including a backlog in case reviews, quality review flags, and requests for additional documentation. While delays are common, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to navigate this challenge by yourself. Seeking guidance from a knowledgeable disability attorney can offer invaluable support throughout the waiting period.

 Myth 7: You Can’t Afford Legal Help

Many disability attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay if you win your case. Don’t let financial concerns deter you from seeking the assistance you need.

Myth 8: My Doctor Says I Can’t Work, So I Should Win, Right?

While a supportive doctor’s opinion is important, the SSA does not uncritically accept it. Social Security considers various factors, including other medical opinions, your medical record, and treatment responses, when assessing your functional limitations.

By debunking these myths and understanding the reality of the disability claims process, individuals can approach their journey with confidence and clarity. It’s important to remember that support is available throughout the process. Whether it’s access to resources or seeking legal guidance, there are avenues for assistance.