12 Sep Social Security Disability Myths: Part 1
Social Security Disability is a complex program with many rules and regulations. Because of this, there is a lot of false information circulating online. Below are 5 disability myths and misconceptions that we commonly see.
Myth: It is too expensive to hire a disability attorney
This is perhaps one of the most widely believed misconceptions about Social Security Disability. By law, a disability attorney or advocate can earn a maximum of 25% of the backpay with a cap at $6,000. There is no upfront or out-of-pocket cost. According to the Contingency Fee Agreement, an attorney will only be paid if your claim is successful. There are two important things to note. First, all ongoing monthly payments go entirely to the claimant. Second, some attorneys may charge the client for the acquisition of his/her records. While this is rare, it is an additional fee. Attorney fee examples:
- With the help of an attorney, a claimant receives a successful decision and is awarded $10,000 in backpay. The attorney will be paid 25%, or $2,500, directly from the SSA. The claimant will receive $7,500.
- With the help of an attorney, a claimant receives a successful decision and is awarded $47,000 in backpay. The attorney will receive $6,000, which is the fee cap. The claimant will receive $41,000.
- A claimant is denied benefits at the hearing level. There is no attorney fee.
Myth: Having a VA rating of 100% guarantees that a veteran will receive Social Security Disability
The SSA does not determine disability according to the VA standard. These are different programs with different sets of requirements. As a result, a veteran with a VA rating will NOT automatically qualify for Social Security Disability. With that said, a VA disability rating can qualify a veteran for expedited processing of their SSDI claim.
Myth: Your condition must be permanent to warrant disability benefits
An individual may be awarded disability benefits for a medical condition that is not permanent. The SSA only requires a condition to last a minimum of one year or be terminal. There is no guideline that prohibits claimants from receiving temporary benefits for a disability that will improve.
Myth: Working while applying for disability benefits will result in automatic denial
An individual may work while going through the application process, however, there is an income cap. For 2018, a claimant may earn no more than $1,180 gross income per month while applying for Social Security Disability. Earning over this limit will result in the automatic denial of benefits. We recommend that you confirm this amount with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as it is subject to change.
Myth: It always takes years to obtain Social Security Disability Benefits
The process of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits can take anywhere between 3 months to 3 years. This is dependent on several factors including the need for appeals, expedition, and hearing wait-times. Just because the process can be lengthy doesn’t mean this is true for everyone. In fact, the process may only take 3 to 6 months for those awarded benefits at the initial level.