The Injustice of Delay

By: Disability Group

Depending on the region of the country in which a person lives, it takes on average 9-27 months after filing to receive a first check. Some people wait over 3 years to receive the benefits they are entitled to.

Most people are unprepared for the financial disaster that comes from an unexpected disabling condition. Since they can no longer wok, people turn to using their life savings to pay their bills. They are forced to choose between medications and food, or paying water or heating bills. They sell their cars, and borrow from their friends. Once their savings run out they are evicted, or lose their homes.

These people have paid into the systsem and are now in a time of need. The fact that the system takes so long and jeopardizes so many people’s wellbeing is an injustice that desperately needs to be addressed.

Cause of The Delay

Under-funding is the root cause of the delay. Due to the aging of the baby boomer population, more claims are filed today than ever before, yet budget allocations to the SSA have been frozen for years. Staff levels are far below what is necessary to process the huge increase in new cases every year.

It is a myth that SSA doesn’t pay cases or delays the application process intentionally to reduce benefits payable to claimants. it is also a myth that judges or the SSA wrongly deny cases in order to save the gonverment money. The simple truth is that Congress has not provided sufficient funds to properly staff the legal and adminstrative teams to process cases.

What Can Be Done to Fix the Problem

  • Join in efforts to lobby your Congressmen and Senators to approve the legislation to provide adequate funding to the Social Security Adminstration.
  • Write to yourlocal representatives, urging them to support bills that will help the Social Security Administration remedy the delay.

We all need to make clear that fundamental decency and fairness require that we provide adequate means to keep our contract with people with disabilities.

What Can Be Done If You Have a Claim

If you believe you have a legititmate claim for disability benefits, you should not delay in filing your applicaton. Since the backlog continues to grow, filing at the earliest opportunity reduces the time you have to wait before receving benefts. Preparation is critical to getting a claim approved quickly. First, be meticulous in completing all of hte requreed forms and support docuemtns. Be sure you get treatment for your condition and get copies of the records every time you visit your health care provider. Then, be sure you submit all of your records promptly.

Getting your case approved is not an easy task and many peopole are not well enough to fight the system alone. According to Richard P. Morris, the formed President of Nation Organization of Social SEcurtiy Claimants’ Representatives, getting legal representation improves your chcanges of winning by over 24%. Lawyers who specialize in this area know the details of hte process and how to imporive your chances of winning your case.