Top 10 Michigan SSD Myths
Looking For Social Security Disability Michigan Information?
1. You cannot apply for disability unless you have been out of work for at least a year.
While your claim for disability insurance benefits requires your disability will last or be expected to last at least 12 months, you should apply as soon as you are no longer working full-time due to a physical and/or mental impairment. Applicants are waiting historically long periods of time before ever appearing before a judge. Waiting a year, or even six months, to apply will only add to the delay. The one-year requirement is waived in cases where the condition is terminal. For more information on the disability determination evaluation, click on the “Social Security Disability Michigan Information” tab and read about Social Security’s definition of “disabled.”
2. They deny you twice before they give you benefits.
Over a decade ago, you’d be denied Social Security disability routinely twice before holding a hearing before a judge: first, after the initial application; and again, after reconsideration. Michigan was fortunate enough to be one of ten states where the second step was eliminated. An appeal should be filed as soon as you receive a denial letter. Waiting to be denied two or three times before calling an attorney can significantly impact your case. It can increase the time you wait to be approved for benefits and potentially reduce your back pay. For more information on the appeal process, click on the “Social Security Disability Information” tab and read about the different levels of appealing social security disability.
3. The neighbor down the street is getting disability and there’s nothing wrong with him/her.
Focus on your case; comparing yourself to others does not enhance your chances of winning. The truth is, an overwhelming number of recipients have severe conditions that you are unable to see or they simply do not tell you about. It is likely that they too had to fight for their benefits.
4. They give disability to drug addicts and alcoholics.
Although Social Security once recognized addictive disorders as disabling conditions, that was well over a decade ago. Now, illegal drug or alcohol abuse severely reduces your chances of winning a disability case. Of course, there are claimants who are abusing drugs or alcohol, but their benefits will likely be terminated when their case is reviewed. For more information on the impact of addictions, click on the FAQ tab at the bottom of the page and read about substance addiction.
5. They give it to immigrants.
A claimant must meet the Social Security Administration’s strict citizenship/residency requirements in order to receive benefits.
6. You have to be “near death” before they give you disability.
With few exceptions, you have to be incapable of sustaining work on a full-time basis due to a mental or physical condition expected to last a year or more. Most people awarded benefits are nowhere near death, and while the conditions must be severe, they need not be incapacitating. For more detailed information on the disability determination evaluation, please click on the Social Security Disability tab.
7. Being unable to find a job will help you win a disability case.
Telling a judge that you have looked all over but cannot find a job is another way of saying you really can work and, therefore, are not disabled. Social Security disability is for individuals who are unable to work.
8. Being unable to pass a physical will help you win a disability case.
It typically isn’t harmful to your case, but it won’t make you win automatically. If the physical was related to a job interview, it may tell the judge that you really think you can work. Failing a job-related physical in a factory has no bearing on whether you could do less physical work. More importantly, your own doctor’s records will have a much bigger impact on whether you win your case. Your age may play a significant role in this area of proving disability as well.
9. I am allowed to work and still get Social Security disability.
While actually not a myth, we receive a few calls every month from people who were on disability and then terminated after they tried to return to work for a period of time, or returned to work part-time. Most of these people read a pamphlet from Social Security encouraging them to work. Some even tried to return their disability checks at their local office after working for a while but were told to keep the checks because they are allowed to work while receiving disability. Imagine their surprise when they received a letter informing them that they were overpaid by thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars and have to pay it back. In short, you are allowed to work, but there are strict limitations on the amount you can earn and remain eligible for disability benefits. Moral of the story: you’d better be careful and know the limits. For more information, click on the FAQ tab at the bottom of the page and read about working.
10. If I’m really disabled, I shouldn’t need an attorney to win my case.
In a perfect world, maybe, but many doctors take illegible notes, don’t respond to requests for copies of patient records, or don’t properly document the disabling conditions. Some doctors don’t send the patient for objective testing, which is extremely helpful in proving disability. Many judges rely heavily on forms completed by the doctor at the request of an attorney that document limitations; these forms simply wouldn’t get completed without an attorney’s request. Many doctors dictate letters with good intentions but includes language that actually hurts their patient’s case. For more information on the advantages of retaining an attorney, click on the Choosing the Right Attorney link.