Currently in the United States, about 10.5 million people receive disability benefits through Social Security but for many, the path to obtaining benefits was a long and arduous one. In fact, the backlog of disability cases is so long that the number of people who die while waiting for their chance in court has risen.
Over A Million People Waiting
Throughout the country there are more than a million people whose names are on waitlists, hoping that their chance to argue their case before a judge will soon arrive. Unfortunately, the average wait for each person is now nearly two years – time that many don’t have.
In the last year alone, 10,002 applicants died during their wait, 15% more than the year before. This increase coincides with another – an increase in the average wait time.
Although the Social Security Administration has claimed that they are attempting to address the backlog by hiring 500 new administrative law judges and support staff, the sad reality is that these changes won’t help the people who need help now.
Social Security Disability – What’s The Big Deal?
Social Security isn’t just for the retired – the program exists so that anyone who is unable to work from disability has support.
In order to be eligible to obtain disability benefits through Social Security, applicants must:
- Have worked for a specific period of time. Usually, this means that out of “quarters”, 20 / 40 quarters should have been worked, which equates to 5 out of 10 years.
- Have a physical or emotional disability which will prevent them from returning to work.
- Prove that they have the disability they are claiming. This must be done by working with a doctor who will create a report detailing the disability and the limitations it presents.
What Are The Most Common Disabilities?
Conditions that are most commonly claimed under Social Security are:
- Back Injuries: Herniated discs, spinal cord damage, fractured vertebrae and other back injuries can all cause severe pain, limit the patient’s range of motion, or paralyze them.
- Cancer: Not all disabilities are caused by an injury – illnesses can be covered as well. Cancer, which can impact any part of the body, can easily make a worker so ill they can no longer do their job – as can the treatments required to save or extend their lives.
- Heart Disease: When the heart isn’t doing its job properly the body becomes weak and any physical labor could put an employee at risk for having a heart attack.
- Arthritis / Musculoskeletal Disorders: This medical condition can impact any joint in the body and the crippling pain can make it impossible to perform daily tasks.
- Psychiatric Conditions: Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are all conditions that can make it impossible for a person to function at work.
Each of these medical conditions is expensive to treat even health insurance and a steady income – so how are those who can no longer work supposed to afford their care?
The very simple answer is that without the help of disability benefits from Social Security, many cannot afford their medical care – or even their everyday expenses – putting their health and lives at risk.
Our Lawyers Can Help
Before many applicants get to the point where they are on a two-year wait list, they typically have already been through the initial application process and an initial appeal. What many don’t realize at those times is how important it is to contact an attorney.
Research shows that applicants who work with an attorney are much more likely to obtain the coverage they need the first time they submit an application. Our experienced legal team has been helping injured workers for over 80 years and we are prepared to help you. Let us handle the paperwork, collect the evidence needed to support your claim, and guide you through this stressful time.