Dispelling the Myth of the SSDI Freeloader

Q: Are SSDI recipients really disabled or just lazy?

Some critics of the current Social Security disability benefits system are asking: Is the Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (“SSDI”) program a safety net or a hammock?

As Fresno and Madera SSDI attorneys committed to helping the disabled get the benefits they deserve, the long-standing myth that people receiving SSDI benefits are just lazy and don’t want to work is offensive. So, with a caveat that recognizes there will always be some who are in fact milking the system, let’s examine the disability benefits process and dispel the myth.

Applying for SSDI disability benefits is a long and difficult process. Two-thirds of initial disability benefits applications are denied. As far as the appeals process goes, the backlog for hearings on appeal is averaging more than two years. Yes, two years. Imagine becoming disabled, being unable to work and provide for your family, and having to wait possibly for years for that first disability check–if it comes at all. People are literally wiping out their life savings, losing their homes, and even dying while waiting for an appeals hearing for disability benefits.

Even assuming you’re one of the applicants fortunate enough to be approved on your initial application, your disability benefits check will be only a fraction of what your former paycheck used to be. And for many, it’s barely or not enough to cover the basic necessities of life. Sometimes, the spouse and/or children must work to make up the difference. Most people have pride and don’t generally want to rely on the charity of family and friends to pay their bills. Many people would rather work so they have more money than barely scraping by. After all, they used to work.

In fact, one of the qualifications for receiving SSDI is that the applicant must have worked a certain number of years in a job in which they paid Social Security FICA taxes as a deduction from their paycheck. The applicant must also satisfy the federal government’s definition of being “disabled”.

Fortunately, the SSDI program has incentives for recipients to go back to work. It is designed so that if a recipient follows the proper procedures they can attempt to gradually return to work without losing their benefits.

If you are disabled and need assistance applying for SSDI benefits, appealing a denial of benefits, or have any other questions, the Social Security disability experts at Peňa & Bromberg can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Fresno, we are dedicated to serving the disabled and their loved ones in all matters related to disability benefits law, throughout California.

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