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Misconceptions About SSDI: Setting Things Straight


The Social Security Administration (SSA) first began a program of monthly disability insurance benefits in 1956 and, decades later, it seems that massive confusion abounds regarding the details of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In short, the program pays out funds and provides other benefits to qualifying individuals who are unable to work. If you suffer from a disabling medical condition that prevents you from earning an income or limits your employability, you may be eligible.

However, misinformation may enter the picture based upon the reputation or stigma associated with SSDI. Embarrassment or shame often discourages individuals from filing for their rightful benefits, which is a mistake: You leave money on the table by not taking action. A Maryland Social Security disability lawyer can explain and assist with the process, but clarifying misconceptions about SSDI is an important first step.

  1. SSDI is a Government Handout 

Though it is officially a government program, SSDI is not “free” money. You know from looking at your payroll information that an amount comes out of your earnings for taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Essentially, this mandatory deduction from your income is a type of insurance premium paid out of your income – so SSDI is not a windfall. 

  1. The Key Benefit to SSDI is the Money 

When you cannot work, you probably believe that the best benefit you can receive is financial in nature. This is a myth because it overlooks many other crucial advantages when you are eligible for SSDI:

  • You qualify for Medicare coverage if you continue to be eligible for SSDI for 24 months or more.
  • If you have dependents, each individual may be entitled to payments which are based upon your own SSDI benefits.
  • Once you qualify for SSDI, you can attempt to go back to work under certain circumstances without having to reapply. 
  1. SSDI Recipients Rarely Return to Work 

Lawmakers never envisioned Social Security disability to be a permanent solution. Some SSDI benefits aim to help you get back to work, but still provide a safety net in case you find that you cannot. You may opt to go through a Trial Work period to test the waters, and you can continue to receive benefits for up to nine months. 

  1. Failure to Qualify is the End of the Road 

Applicants who do not accumulate sufficient work history will not be eligible for SSDI, even though they may meet the medical requirements established by SSA. In such a situation, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – a needs-based program that assesses your income and assets instead of your work history.

A Maryland SSDI Attorney Can Clarify Details

This information should debunk some myths about Social Security disability, but you should always trust the specifics to an experienced lawyer. To learn how our team can help, please contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC in Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Ellicott City, or Annapolis, MD. Once we review your circumstances, we can advise you on applying for SSDI.


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