A Practical Introduction to Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability is, to say the least, a complicated and confusing process. Most people don’t want to think about disability, let alone file a claim yourself. However, the chances of becoming disabled might surprise you – 1 in 4 young workers will become disabled during their lifetime – meaning educating yourself now will give you the upper hand in the end. Whether this is your first or third time with the disability process, we want it to be your last.

As a prerequisite to the history of Social Security Disability, it’s critical that you know the fundamental components of SSD. There are two types of disability: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We’ll compare and contrast of both programs in more detail later on in another blog post, so for now, grasp this simple and short explanation: SSDI is for disabled workers based on their work history, and SSI is a needs-based program for low-income and disabled individuals.

The Social Security Disability Insurance program was legislated before the SSI program, but it took almost 21 years of policymaking and consideration before it was finally enacted in 1956. After many drafts, disability insurance was finally able to start paying cash benefits to impaired workers.

The legislation of SSDI was a huge win for disability, but 1969 brought forward a revolution in social policy that initiated the discussion about adult welfare programs. Disability was growing at an unprecedented rate, and many disabled individuals fell below the poverty line. To offset this, Congress created the Supplemental Security Income program in 1972 and began paying supplemental income to its beneficiaries in 1975.

You’ve probably heard the rumor that disability can be difficult to get, so we’ll clear that up right now: It is, and it has always been that way. Being realistic about what to expect during the disability process will reduce stress, frustration, and unexpected “surprises” like denial letters. For some, it can take up to two years before they are paid benefits, but this isn’t always the case. Honestly, the state that you live in and how backed up they are with applications contributes to most of the processing time. Regardless, accepting that there is a waiting period will significantly prolong your much-needed patience during the disability process, because, besides getting all your ducks in order on your end, there is simply nothing you can do about it but wait.

Another aspect you should accept and face head-on are denials. They will happen! Nearly 70% of individuals are denied after submitting their initial application. You will need to know how to file an appeal (which we will also discuss in another post), if you take the “Do-It Yourself” route. It’s a good idea to think about hiring an advocate or attorney, as they will be able to understand your circumstances, handle most of the paperwork, meet deadlines, and file your appeal for you. Without proper guidance, you could be making mistakes in your disability claim that could potentially hurt your case, unknowingly.

Luckily, disability advocates and lawyers are paid only if your case is won, and the fee is limited to 25% of your backpay, up to a maximum of $6000. These charges aren’t out of pocket, but paid through past-due benefits awarded to you. Financially, hiring a representative could be the best thing for you.

In addition to the expectations listed that you’ll need to be realistic about, know this: it is worth it. It isn’t easy, but it IS worth it. Once you’ve won benefits, your past decision to apply for disability will be nothing but validated through being able to meet the basic financial needs of you and your family  Simply, we truly believe that you can do this, and Disability Guide is here to help you succeed. Feel free to browse our information and give us a call for a free consultation at (801-702-4921)