Top 3 Myths About Social Security Disability

Baltimore attorney Jeff Scholnick discusses the most prevalent myths regarding Social Security disability.

Not having the correct information on Social Security disability benefits can mean the difference between winning your benefits and going without. Several misconceptions in particular often cause issues in pursuing benefits. Read the following list to better understand the process and what is and is not true about Social Security disability.

  1. A statement from a physician automatically approves you for Social Security disability. A thorough, detailed statement from a doctor who is knowledgeable about a claimant’s medical problems can make a difference. However, it is not a guarantee of success. This document, titled a “medical source statement,” can help at the second level of appeal in most states. Judges recognize the fact that they are not medical professionals and are not directly involved in a claimant’s medical treatment. Judges are required to accept a treating doctor’s medical source statement as true and accurate unless they have a valid reason to reject it.

The statement must explain why the patient has certain limitations and must also provide medical evidence regarding those limitations. There is a form that accomplishes these goals, known as a Residual Functional Capacity Form (RFC).

  1. You will receive a decision on a disability claim in 90 to 120 days. Social Security disability cases can be won in as little as 30 days or take as long as two years for your benefits to be awarded. There is simply no way to predict how long a case will take. Unlike other programs, the federal disability program does not have deadlines for applications or appeals.

On average, a decision for an initial disability claim takes roughly three to six months. Reconsideration, or the first level of appeal, generally takes just as long, though a case may be decided much sooner or later.

  1. Certain conditions will get you approved for disability automatically. This myth depends on the situation. There are in fact certain impairments that are singled out in the SSA’s Impairment Listing Manual. Disability claimants who fulfill the severity criteria for one of these listed conditions can be approved for benefits somewhat more easily than others.  Keep in mind, however, that even with “listing-level” impairments, the disability evaluation process is never automatic.

Although these three myths are probably the most widely believed, there are more to look out for. For more information on common Social Security Disability misconceptions, contact Baltimore attorney Jeff Scholnick today.