When clients come into our office to file for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, they’re often going through the absolute worst time of their lives. Not only are they coping with the physical or mental issues that prevent them from working — along with tremendous financial stress — but they also often feel guilty or embarrassed.

However, this is something every applicant for disability benefits needs to hear: Having a disabling condition is not a personal failure. Filing for benefits from Social Security is not asking for a handout.

The Social Security Disability system is designed to function similar to an insurance policy. When you worked, you paid into the system yearly on the off chance that you would one day need that insurance. Those who never had a chance to pay into the system are often covered under Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a different benefit — but one that is designed for that purpose.

No one should feel embarrassed or ashamed about being unable to hold a job because of their condition. In fact, one out of every three Americans is likely to die or become disabled before their retirement age. Many of those people have family members who also need to rely on Social Security benefits to maintain their lives.

In addition, your risk of becoming disabled increases dramatically as you age. Americans are living longer, but the human body tends to start wearing out with repeated use. Also, many chronic health issues that are genetic in origin, like heart disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis and others don’t surface when people are young.

Many people develop disabling conditions due to genetics or injuries or illnesses that occur in their mid-30s. The good news is the numbers are gradually increasing each decade. If you find yourself among the disabled, contact our office for compassionate, responsive assistance.