Why is SSD So Complicated?

The topic of Social Security Disability is shrouded with both misconception and confusion, leaving most wondering, “What exactly is Social Security Disability?” The best way to tackle the seemingly complicated nature of SSD is to break it down by defining what it means to be “disabled” and how the application process operates.

Social Security Administration qualifies someone as being disabled when one is “unable to do any type of work because of a verifiable mental or physical impairment expected to result in death, or has lasted, or is expected to last, for at least 12 months.” The root of its complexity is at its definition: determining if a person is “disabled” per the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition and consequently eligible for SSD. Social Security Disability encompasses both Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI); together, they cover disabled populations that have worked full-time in the last ten years as well as those who have never worked or do not currently work.

In order to apply apply for SSD, a claim is filed which goes into extensive detail, including the claimant’s medical, work, and injury/illness histories. If approved by the SSA, the claimant is eligible to receive financial assistance. Unfortunately, the process is rarely simple and eligibility is often hard won.

SSD seems so convoluted because it is facilitated by and intended to benefit humans, but it’s human-based processing leaves room for human error. Unfortunately, there are also people who make fraudulent claims or try to “beat” the system. In an attempt to weed out falsified applications, the submission is prudently reviewed and sometimes denied at first. When one’s application is initially denied, it is essential that they be proactive and “fight back” through persistent contact with the SSA, application resubmittal, and possibly hiring a lawyer to support the claim. Even if a claim is approved, they are subject to a five month waiting period to collect receivable aid.

In its most simplistic goal, to financially assist those who cannot provide for themselves, Social Security Disability does not look to be all that complicated. However, funding the SSA effects the entire population, disabled or not. For the 2013 fiscal year, the SSA requested a total budget of 11.916 billion dollars. With such an outstanding monetary request and tax payers’ dollars at stake, the rules, regulations, and application scrutiny surrounding SSD must justify the need for these funds and protect authorized spending to those who are eligible; thus making Social Security Disability so frequently complex and time-intensive.