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Myths About Social Security Disability: Part Two

This month we are focusing on Social Security Disability and some of the common misconceptions that you might hear from your friends, neighbors, and family members about filing for benefits in North Carolina. If you missed Part One in this myth discovery analysis, start here. In this series, we want to reveal the truth behind these myths and inform our readers about successfully receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

Myth 4: You cannot work and apply for Social Security Disability benefits at the same time. Those collecting Social Security cannot be involved in a Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). However, if you work and make a low amount under the SGA threshold, that work does not count as an SGA. The rates for SGA amounts change from year to year. In 2013, you cannot make more than $1,040 a month and still collect benefits. If you are blind, the amount is $1,740.

Myth 5: A note from your doctor proving your disability will guarantee you benefits. As we've said before, the application process is complex and multifaceted - nothing is guaranteed or automatic, and every case is different. A detailed, unbiased, and specific letter from your physician can be very helpful in your case, and, in some cases, be the deciding factor. However, the most important piece of evidence in your case will always be your complete medical history regarding your disability or condition. You should also note that letters from doctors are discouraged during the initial process and more likely to hold weight only during the appeal process.

Myth 6: Every SSD application is denied the first time. This is false. Although a large majority of applications are denied initially - the statistic hovers around a staggering 70% - about a third of applications are approved. Why? The SSA is very specific about how one fills out an application, and even if you have a real reason to receive benefits, you need to follow the rules and provide a solid body of evidence. They best way to get approved the first time around is to have a professional who is familiar with the system help you navigate the process. It is also important to note that you should not try to apply a second time after you are denied - instead, file an appeal to your first denial with the help of an experienced attorney.