After handling thousands of Social Security disability claims over more than 20 years, you might think the lawyers and staff at our firm would have grown immune to the frustrations of dealing with the federal government. But we haven’t. We still get upset when the government needlessly drags out the time for decision on a client’s claim.
A moving, and sad, article in the Detroit Free Press captured the frustration and sense of helplessness of Social Security disability claimants as they wrestle with the Social Security Administration. I recommend reading this lengthy story. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Adria Howard doesn’t understand why her application for Social Security disability payments was denied without explanation.
The mother of two from Tolleson, Ariz., had worked until recently, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer that had spread to her back, and the pain made her job impossible. Now, she is preparing an appeal, and statistics show it could take nearly a year to get a hearing with an administrative-law judge. Meanwhile, her bills stack up.
“With chemo and everything, at this point, I cannot work,” she said.
Sarah Burkhart of Chandler, who suffers from a neurological disorder, waited 2 and one-half years for approval of her disability benefits. She had to move back in with her parents during the long process.
The Social Security disability program, which is funded by workers’ payroll deductions, is intended to help people who get sick or injured and no longer can work.
As the nation ages and effects of the recession linger, millions are applying for disability benefits, and Social Security can’t work through the claims fast enough.
Pressure is building on the system because aging Baby Boomers, many still in the workforce, are more prone to injury as they get older. The recession also caused many who were hanging on to jobs despite chronic medical issues to apply for benefits when they lost those jobs.