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If you have an injury or medical condition that is so debilitating that it prevents you from securing and maintaining gainful employment, you may be thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Reserved for those who have particularly severe, long-term disabilities, SSDI benefits can help those who are unable to make their own living provide for themselves and secure the essentials they need to navigate their day-to-day lives.

Developing a better understanding of the SSDI benefits system and application process can help you avoid making errors that could potentially result in an SSDI claim denial, so learning to separate SSDI myths from reality is important before applying. So, before you apply for SSDI benefits, recognize the following:

Benefits are long-term, but not necessarily lifelong

SSDI benefits help those who expect to be out of the workforce for as little as a year, or as long as a lifetime. Therefore, if you have a disability that is not particularly severe in nature or not expected to last at least a year, there may be other disability benefit options that may prove more appropriate for you. If you are able to obtain SSDI benefits, however, note that they may not necessarily last a lifetime. If your condition is likely to improve, or if your condition may possibly improve, you can anticipate having to undergo a review periodically to determine continued SSDI benefit eligibility.

The more documentation you have, the better

The more information and documentation you have about your medical condition, the better your chances of securing SSDI benefits. The SSA’s guidebook on disability insurance dictates the type of documentation you should have on hand before applying for benefits, but as a general rule, you will want to thoroughly document any doctor visits you have or treatment you receive.

While having your physician acknowledge that do, in fact, have a long-term disability can certainly increase your chances of obtaining SSDI benefits, please note that a doctor’s word is not always enough for approval. Therefore, the more information about your condition you can gather for yourself, the better your chances of securing financial assistance.