The chances of someone being unable to work due to an illness or severe injuries are disturbingly high. Social Security Administration statistics reveal that a 20-year-old worker has a 30% chance of having a disability before retirement age.

Once a catastrophic event occurs, the person not only has to deal with the physical issues related to the illness or injury, but they will likely face serious financial concerns.

SSDI can help soften the loss of income

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was designed as a long-term program to help severely ill, or injured workers avoid financial ruin. It is different from Workers’ Compensation insurance or other disability programs offered by employers or through private insurers. SSDI protects people who have paid into the program and is meant to replace some, but not all, of a worker’s lost income.

Separate the facts from the myths

Here is the truth about some common concerns or issues workers often face:

  • Denials are likely: True. The most recent data shows about 33% of applications were approved, meaning two out of every three were denied. However, there is an appeals process, and statistics show that applicants with proven disabilities are usually approved.
  • SSDI is not a salary substitute: True. Disability payments are not meant to replace a worker’s income. In 2015, an average monthly benefit of $1,165 was paid. The benefit is designed to help people meet basic needs.
  • All that’s needed is a doctor’s approval: False. SSDI decisions are legal and not medical. The Social Security Administration will make the determination based on whether the applicant meets the agency’s standards.
  • Proper documentation increases your chances of approval: True. Having objective and complete paperwork documenting a disability will help an applicant’s chance of getting SSDI.
  • Payments do not kick in immediately: True. Processing an application can take at least three to five months and once approved, a recipient will receive a letter that will detail the date that payments will start.

Applying for SSDI can be complicated

This is also true. The application process is filled with paperwork and deadlines. In the event an application is denied, it may be necessary to appeal the decision. An attorney with Social Security Disability Insurance experience here in Alabama can guide applicants during and after the application and appeal process helping them receive the benefits they deserve.