Depending on whom you ask, there are dozens of myths and misconceptions out there on Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.
Here are the most common that we run into as we counsel clients:
- Every first time application is denied. Well, not quite! But California initial claim approval runs about the same as the national average – only about 30% are approved the first time. Often initial claims are denied for missing medical or work information, so make sure your application has all the necessary information.
- Certain medical conditions get automatic SSDI approval. There is a limited list maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA) called Compassionate Allowances showing severe illnesses and injuries that require only a doctor’s diagnosis to automatically qualify the applicant for benefits. Examples from the list include ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, pancreatic cancer and acute leukemia. The SSA will expedite these applications.
- A supporting physician’s letter will automatically get approval. A short letter will not help your case, but a more detailed medical source statement known as an RFC form can help get you approved for benefits. A helpful statement will explain why you have limitations and will include references to medical evidence, opinions on what your limitations are and an explanation on how your limitations are supported by the medical evidence.
- You will receive an approval decision within 120 days. Each case is different – an approval can take as little as 30 days or even up to 2 years. If the initial application is denied, the first stage of appeal called a Reconsideration can take 3-4 months more. After that, an appeal to an administrative law judge can take an additional 6 months or more. The average wait time for a hearing before a judge is 20 months.
- You can’t work and have earned income if you are applying for disability. The SSA will determine that you are not disabled if you can perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). In 2018, the SGA thresholds are monthly earnings of $1,180 ($1,970 if you are blind). There are, however, exceptions to this rule in determining whether an individual is able to work.
We Can Help with Your Social Security Disability Benefits Application and Appeal
If you or a loved one has been denied Worker’s Compensation or Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, it’s important to get an attorney experienced in these types of cases involved immediately. Call 800.438.7734 for your initial free consultation, either in our office or in the comfort of your own home. The Kenton Koszdin Law Office, Social Security attorney in Van Nuys, can help you navigate the application process for the best possible outcome for you and your family.