Top 10 Common Social Security Disability Myths


When you’ve become disabled and need help, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers numerous programs to provide assistance for yourself and your household. Unfortunately, many myths and false claims could steer an applicant in the wrong direction. Before you file your claim, here’s what you need to know:

The Truth About Social Security Disability Myths:

  1. You must be disabled for at least one year before you apply for disability benefits. False. If you’ve been disabled for a few months, but your doctor expects it to last for at least a year, you can be eligible for benefits and should apply as soon as possible.
  2. If you’re an addict or an alcoholic, you will never be eligible for benefits. False. The SSA will give benefits to former alcoholics and addicts who have been sober for at least a year or are (or have been) seeking therapy or treatment for their addiction. However, if an applicant is actively using, the SSA will not award them benefits. The SSA needs to be able to determine the extent of your disability’s effect on your life. Drug or alcohol use can make this unclear, so making a commitment to sobriety is crucial.
  3. You cannot receive Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability benefits at the same time. False. You can absolutely receive both at the same time. However, if you are approved for workers’ compensation after receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or vice versa, the SSA will reduce your monthly benefits using the “workers’ compensation offset rule” to create a counterbalance. That way, you can receive both benefits at the same time.
  4. You cannot work or earn an income when applying for Social Security Disability benefits. False. You can work and earn an income while you apply for benefits, as long as the income does not exceed $1,090 per month. This applies to both married and unmarried individuals.
  5. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the same as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). False. People often think Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is SSDI. While both are federal programs through the SSA, they are different from one another and serve different purposes. SSDI provides financial assistance to those who can no longer work due to a disability and have paid Social Security taxes through their employment for at least 5 out of the past 10 years. On the other hand, SSI is needs-based and provides financial assistance to those who are disabled and have not worked over the past ten years and remain unable to work.
  6. If I try to work, I will automatically lose my Medicare health coverage. False. You will keep your health insurance as long as you receive a benefit payment of any amount. In addition, if you earn enough to the point where your benefit checks stop, your Medicare coverage can continue for up to 93 months.
  7. Young people are always denied benefits. False. Although those under 18 likely don’t have a qualifying work history to receive SSDI, they still may be eligible for needs-based Supplemental Security Income (SSI) approval with the proper documentation and assistance of a SOAR case worker.
  8. The government can’t seize my Social Security Disability check if I owe child support. False. Since SSD comes from payroll deductions, the government will immediately garnish part of your disability checks to pay back what you owe in child support.
  9.  A report from your doctor recommending you for benefits will get you automatically approved. False. While medical documentation is required for your disability case, this will not result in automatic approval. However, lacking medical documentation will guarantee that you will be denied benefits.
  10. I need a Social Security Disability lawyer to win my case. False. Anyone can file for disability benefits and be approved, regardless of if they have an attorney. Unfortunately, it will likely result in an initial denial. According to the SSA, between 70 and 75% of initial applicants are denied, regardless of their eligibility. However, applying with the assistance of a Social Security Disability lawyer can increase your chances of approval by 20% or more. Disability attorneys are your advocates and will ensure that all documentation and paperwork are filed on time for your best chance at approval as soon as possible.

We’re Your Disability Attorneys and Your Advocates

 At Disability Attorneys of Michigan, helping our clients receive the benefits they need and deserve is our calling. With our decades of experience and expertise, we will guide you through the claims process every step of the way and won’t get paid unless you’re approved. Speak with us for free today.

Contact us today by submitting a form below or calling our office at 800-949-2900 for a free case evaluation.

I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.