NPR recently ran a story entitled “Unfit for Work: The Startling Rise of Disability in America” that focused on Americans receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The piece was eye-opening, but its author conveniently left out a few details that would have changed the piece’s narrative.
While the current SSDI system, including the application and appeals process, may not be perfect, these benefits still help many people who are legitimately unable to work. There are admittedly individuals who take advantage of the system, and when that happens, those people should be prosecuted and face penalties. One thing that the NPR reporter failed to mention is that most applicants are denied benefits up front, while some people are completely unaware of the legal process surrounding an appeal.
We also took issue with the report’s lack of understanding when it comes to benefit qualification. People who receive SSDI benefits have to have earned work credits, meaning he or she must have paid into the system. When the Social Security Administration evaluates a case, there are two gauges used to check a person’s work history. These are tests known as the Duration of Work Test and the Recent Work Test, and they take into account how long you have worked, as well as how recently, in order to determine whether you qualify for disability benefits.
The NPR story also failed to mention that SSDI applicants have to show that their disabilities have lasted for longer than a year or could result in death. Keep in mind, benefits are only available for people with total disabilities; benefits are not available for people who are considered “partially” disabled.
Omitting information like this could lead to the stereotyping of SSDI beneficiaries. The clients we serve truly cannot work because of their disabilities. Because the SSDI process can be confusing, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security Disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404. Contact us today.