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Agency publication sets the facts straight about SSDI benefits

Amidst various media allegations concerning the administration and beneficiaries of the Social Security disability insurance program, commentators and advocacy groups like the Center for American Progress have published responses documenting the valuable services that the SSDI program provides to deserving, disabled recipients. Notably, the Social Security Administration recently joined in that response with a publication entitled, “The Faces and Facts of Disability.”

The publication is important because it correctly characterizes many aspects of the SSDI program. First, SSDI benefits are more like insurance coverage that workers pay into through their payroll taxes. When a mental impairment or sensory or physical disability strikes, individuals with a qualifying work history should accordingly feel entitled to pursue SSDI benefits.

The publication also notes that the SSA’s definition of disability is stricter than other private disability plans that may offer coverage for temporary or partial disabilities. The SSA’s disability requirement is that a severe condition must be expected to last for at least one year or result in death. In addition, the disability must inhibit an individual’s capacity to do the work that he or she did in the past, or from adjusting to other substantial, gainful work. Finally, the publication notes that disability is a fact of life that workers must plan for, as nearly one in four will become disabled before reaching retirement age. 

As the above requirements suggest, applying for SSDI benefits is not easy. Without an attorney, an applicant may not understand all of the evidence that is needed to present a strong claim to the SSA’s disability examiners. An attorney that focuses on disability benefits can help in that endeavor.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Faces and Facts of Disability,” May 2014

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