|The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. American citizens have come to be aware that with the Social Security programs for disability benefits and SSI, security is still there for them, even as they are physically restricted, burdened with an illness and unable to work anymore.
However, the Social Security is not committed to making massive awareness and information regarding such programs as the vast public are continually in ignorance of its procedures, policies and workings. Because of this, several misconceptions and false expectations have been harbored by many who were misinformed of the social security’s policy. Alas! Many are greatly disillusioned by the time they have come through handling their own applications for disability / SSI claims.
A foremost example of a misconception is that “the Social Security denies everyone the first time they apply for disability”. Arbitrariness is never a method in the Social Security. Disability applications are filed at the Social Security Office and are subject for evaluation. Completed disability applications are sent to a state agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS). At DDS, they are assigned to disability specialists known as Examiners. Examiners are the individuals who make decisions on Social Security cases (at the initial and Reconsideration Levels).
Though not all are denied, it is frustrating to note that after months of waiting, 70% of the population that applied for disability claims are denied!
Another misguided information is that the “Social Security denies you a certain number of times before you are approved and can receive disability benefits” should not be believed. During the long wait for the processing of disability / SSI claims applications, many different factors affect the approval and/or denial of applications. Each case are different among others, thus, reasons for approval and/or denial, whether how many times are not always the same.
Meanwhile, a statement from your physician supporting your case cannot automatically get you approved for benefits. Why, of course! No one who ever passed a disability claim application at the SSA with or without the supporting statements of a physician have ever been automatically approved. Your physician’s medical report on your disability will have to go through inspection of the DDS and eventually, if continually denied, into the judgment of the Administrative Law Judge to weigh the facts presented if you are really entitled to the benefits.
What others are claiming that “certain conditions, disabilities, or medical health problems can get you automatically approved for benefits”, is not even close to the truth. While certain conditions, disabilities or medical health problems do get the claimant involved approved for benefits, the SSA procedures entails that no claimant’s application be automatically denied and/or approved.
Saying that the best solution upon denial of an application is to file another brand new application in order to plead your case and appeal, is another misguided idea. While it is right to appeal for your application, it is not a good solution to begin all over again. The only way to continue you claim is to request for reconsideration, and with it, the necessary additions that may strongly support your claim.
Another myth states that you can't be awarded social security disability benefits if you have ever used drugs or alcohol. If that is so, then the state is denying disability benefits to the entire population since at one point in their lives, they certainly may have used drugs or alcohol! This is such an utter mix-up of the law stating that disability benefit shall be denied to those whose impairment was caused by addiction to drugs and alcohol.
There are yet other misguided ideas and information that still burrowed in the minds of citizens, especially those who are aiming to apply for disability claims. Unless a serious information drive campaign be done in order to answer all questions and to banish all myths in the minds of the people, more and more would still cling to farfetched ideas and false hopes in the Social Security Administration’s system
About the author:
Lala B. is a 26 year-old Communication Arts graduate, with a major in Journalism. Right after graduating last 1999, she worked for one year as a clerk then became a Research, Publication and Documentation Program Director at a non-government organization, which focuses on the rights, interests and welfare of workers for about four years.
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