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Clarifying confusion over Social Security disability benefits

In today's political environment, many Missourians could be confused about certain aspects regarding Social Security and the benefits that people are entitled to. One is Social Security Disability Insurance. Given the way certain political figures are trying to remake the government, including Social Security and its benefits, it can be ignored that SSDI can be just as important for a person living with an injury, illness or condition as Social Security benefits are for a person of retirement age. The truth about SSDI should be accounted for.

A worker will qualify for benefits if he or she works for the equivalent of 10 years. The criteria to receive disability are different from retirement and Medicaid due to the possibility of someone younger needing it. SSDI is often misidentified as welfare when it is in fact a benefit that the person earned through payment of payroll taxes. SSDI claims have risen in the past few decades, but that is most likely due to demography. For example, those classified as baby boomers reached ages when it is often necessary to have Social Security disability benefits for illness; at the same time, more women were working, adding to the number of people who are eligible for SSDI. The retirement age for Social Security rising from 65 to 66 has also probably affected this.

The number of people who are getting SSD benefits had declined by 121,000 in April compared to one year earlier. The total number was 9.455 million. In truth, for every three applications for SSDI, only one is approved on the first try. Forty percent are approved after all appeals have been lodged. A bigger problem is the number of people with legitimate problems that would likely warrant an approval of benefits who are caught in a backlog.

With the administration seeking to make cuts to certain government programs, those who have an illness for which they are making Social Security disability claims have the option to reach out for legal help. Contacting an attorney experienced with the details of seeking SSD benefits can help to navigate all these complicated issues.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Yes, disability insurance really is part of Social Security," Mark Miller, June 18, 2017

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
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