What are some Social Security Disability and SSI myths?

Some of the more notable myths and fallacies about SSD and SSI are as follows:

1. They always deny a claim for disability the first time you apply. Is that true? Well, in actuality, roughly 70 percent of initial claims are denied nationwide (inital claims = disability applications). So, while most claims are initially denied, obviously not all are.

2. You can't win disability without a disability attorney. Well, a disability representative (of the attorney or non-attorney variety) can certainly make a difference in one's chances of being awarded disability benefits. However, the majority of individuals who win disability benefits at the initial claim level (30 percent of applications) or after a request for reconsideration has been filed (15 percent of reconsideration appeals)...are probably not represented. So, obviously, you don't need an attorney to win disability.

However, it would, in general terms be foolish to go to a disability hearing with an administrative law judge without the benefit of representation. And, in fact, my own opinion is that it isn't a bad idea to get representation after the denial of a disability application. After all, the next step is the reconsideration and only 15 of every 100 reconsideration appeals get approved.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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