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Going on Social Security doesn't mean the end of your usefulness

It can actually be emotionally devastating to apply for Social Security Disability.

While the benefits exist for a reason -- and are actually the only long-term disability benefits that most people have available to them -- there's such a negative connotation associated with accepting Social Security Disability that many people feel embarrassed and stigmatized when they have to do it.

The reality is that it isn't easy to qualify for Social Security Disability. You have to have earned the right to the insurance by having paid into the system for a significant period of time. You also have to have a serious disability that is expected to end in death or is expected to last for at least a year.

In other words, the benefits aren't handed out like candy and nobody who files should feel guilty for asking for something that they're entitle to receive.

Nor is starting Social Security Disability necessarily the end to your working life. Social Security actually has several different programs that are designed to help Social Security Disability recipients actually return to work:

  • The Ticket to Work Program, which gives beneficiaries access to job placement counseling, job maintenance support and additional support as they try become self-supporting.
  • It's possible to earn income below the monthly substantial gainful activity amount and still maintain your full benefit and entitlement to medical coverage.
  • You can attempt work that would stop your benefits and -- if the job doesn't work out or you're unable to continue work -- your benefits can be restarted.
  • You can maintain your entitlement to medical coverage while working even if your benefits are stopped.

Regardless of whether or not you are able to return to any sort of work activity after you become disabled, it's important to remember that you can't allow the negative attitudes toward those on Social Security Disability benefits affect your persistence if you need to file.

If you've been denied, a Social Security Disability attorney can help you identify the issues that are keeping your claim from being accepted.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Existing work opportunities today still go unrecognized," Paula Morgan, Oct. 26, 2017

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