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Unveiling SSDI Knowledge: Insights From Americans With Disabilities

Written by
Sarah Aitchison
Published July 19, 2023
Updated July 24, 2023
1 min read
Why trust us?

Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard-trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience and has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

At Atticus, we believe understanding the intricacies of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process is crucial for individuals seeking support. That’s why we conducted a comprehensive survey of 1,003 Americans with disabilities to gauge their knowledge of SSDI. How well do applicants understand the qualifications for coverage, rules for receiving benefits, and the application process itself?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more in the hopes that readers can navigate the SSDI application process with confidence. With the right knowledge and support, we can help persons with disabilities access the benefits they deserve.

Infographic: Assessing SSDI

Key takeaways

  • 48% of Americans with disabilities believe they have a disability that qualifies for SSDI coverage; 22% are unsure.

  • 34% of respondents have applied for SSDI benefits.

  • 42% of SSDI applicants worked with a lawyer.

  • Applicants who used a lawyer were 32% more likely to score 90% or higher on the SSDI knowledge assessment.

  • 71% of applicants who did not use a lawyer would tell prospective applicants to use one.

  • 1 in 8 Americans with disabilities have applied for Social Security retirement benefits.

  • Nearly half of disabled Americans (46%) believe you can collect SSDI and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time — this is false. 

  • Only 19% of Americans with disabilities felt they had high comprehension of the SSDI benefits application process. 

    • 44% felt they had low to very low comprehension.

  • 65% of those who applied for SSDI benefits were very anxious throughout the SSDI application process.

  • On average, SSDI applicants waited seven months for an initial decision.

Navigating the SSDI application with confidence

SSDI coverage is essential for many Americans with disabilities, but the application process is far from straightforward. Legal help with your disability application and appeal can greatly improve your odds of approval, and previous applicants highly recommend using a lawyer to apply.

To find a lawyer and answers to all of your SSDI questions, talk to a client advocate at Atticus. There's no commitment and no up-front fees.


Atticus surveyed 1,003 disabled Americans about their knowledge of the SSDI application process. 34% of those surveyed had applied for SSDI benefits.

About Atticus

Atticus is your go-to law firm for claiming aid in times of crisis. We provide fast, effective, and tailored assistance for accessing government and insurance benefits. From disability benefits to workers’ compensation and VA benefits, our comprehensive resources simplify the process, getting you the healthcare and payments you deserve.

Fair use statement

Do you know someone preparing to apply for SSDI coverage? You are welcome to share the findings from our study for noncommercial purposes only, provided that you include a link back to the original page.

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Sarah Aitchison


Sarah is an attorney at Atticus Law, P.C. Prior to joining Atticus, she was a civil public defender in Brooklyn, NY and a business reporter in Seattle, WA. She is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law.
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