UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
There are several misconceptions about Social Security disability insurance in California. While news stories may claim that there is rampant fraud in the SSDI system, it is very difficult for people to get approved for benefits when they have become disabled.
In 2016, 61 million Americans received Social Security benefits, and 68 percent were retired. Of the remaining recipients, 18 percent were the children or spouses of decedents who receive survivor's benefits, and 14 percent were disabled workers. Social Security is meant to provide a financial safety net for people who are unable to work, are retired or have lost the income of people who have died and are no longer able to support them.
Both workers and their employers contribute money to the Social Security disability insurance fund as a part of their payroll tax contributions. In order to gain approval for Social Security disability benefits, workers must have qualifying disabilities that prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity. They must also have worked for 5 out of the last 10 years. A majority of Social Security disability applications are initially denied by the Social Security Administration.
SSDI is meant to help people who are no longer able to work because of a serious disability that is expected to last for 12 months or longer or to result in their deaths to make ends meet. Even if people are eligible for benefits, the SSA denies most applications that it receives. People have the right to appeal their denials, but they must do so within a limited time period after they have been denied. Experienced Social Security disability lawyers may be able help their clients with their appeals so that they have a better chance of being successful in their administrative hearings.