What Does it Really Mean to be Approved for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Q & A with 20+ year Social Security Disability Attorney Andrew Kinney

Q: What does it really mean to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits?

A: The media and some political leadership would have us believe that people are clamoring to live off government benefits. While there are freeloaders in all sectors (including the two above-mentioned groups), I want to offer you a more accurate portrait from someone who has sat with thousands of disabled people.

Almost all the people our law offices has represented for Social Security benefits (upwards of 50,000 at last count) would rather work. For many, applying for benefits is a failure. A failure to themselves, their families, and a failure in life. To even apply for benefits can a miserable recognition that everything they hoped for and dreamed to do is gone. Not such a pretty picture so far, now, is it?

Social Security Disability benefits do not nearly pay as well as working. And Social Security’s failure to hire sufficient numbers of judges has caused clients to lose their homes, families, everything—including dignity. Some tell me they must accept welfare, having vowed to never do so in their “working” lives. Personal philosophy doesn’t do a damn to heal their wounds or pay their bills.

The real way to understand what I have described above is to sit and talk with some of those who are applying. Perhaps sift through a few hundred pages of their medical records. And really listen before coming to conclusions. With any experience, you will recognize that disabled people are not statistics in government publications, they are not props in committee meetings with prepared minutes. These are real people who need benefits for very real reasons despite working very hard with doctors to get better. They aren’t freeloaders.

Go ahead. Call your disabled neighbor, close friend, family member, or (God forbid someday) yourself a freeloader. See how far that gets you. Then, take actual time to understand the people who rely on the disability program. Many, many people are in real need.
Listen to me here. When you truly understand real suffering, you know it doesn’t lie.

Andrew Kinney, Esq., 11/30/15

Written by Andrew Kinney

Andrew Kinney is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Marquette Law School. He is in his 25th year of practice in Social Security Disability law. He speaks nationally on Social Security Disability practice, founded the Minnesota State Bar "Social Security Disability Section," and is an editor of the Social Security Pratice Guide, a five-volume legal guide published by LexisNexis.

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