In America, if you are disabled there is a safety net in place. Around 8.8 million Americans receive some form of Social Security Disability Insurance payment. This enables those who have contributed by paying Social Security taxes to access money to pay some of their living costs. It is a system that helps to keep millions fed and living in reasonable conditions.
A less than perfect system
However, as Carolina disability lawyers and those based in other areas of the country will tell you, the system is not without its issues. Every year, tens of thousands of people turn to them when they are unable to secure the payments they need. Unfortunately, examples of flawed decisions can be found across the country. US disability lawyers have never been as busy as they are now.
Long waiting lists
One of the biggest issues is the fact that it can take a year or more for someone’s application to be processed. The waiting time is so long that, in 2016, 8,699 Americans died while waiting for a decision on their application. In 2017, the figure was 10,002.
This situation prompted the U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-Conn to make the following comment:
“It is totally unacceptable for 10,000 people to lose their lives waiting for insurance they paid into,”
Even longer waits for appeals
Naturally, when people have their applications turned down, they appeal. But, there are issues there as well. According to the Social Security Administration, the average waiting time for an appeal to be heard and ruled on has now reached 540 days.
Why the waiting lists are so long
The fact that the very large baby boomer demographic is now reaching old age is thought to behind the fact that waiting lists have gotten as long as they have. Their health is starting to fail because of their age and a significant percentage of them are becoming disabled. The vast majority of this demographic worked for most of their lives, so they tick the entitlement box. But, the fact that there are so many that need to and can apply means that the system has become severely overstretched. This is partly why this highly upsetting and negative situation has developed over a relatively short space of time.
Things are improving
However, the system is being overhauled. As a result of the changes made the length of the waiting list for social security disability claims have started to shorten. From January 2017, the overall number of people on the list has fallen for 22 consecutive months.
The best way through
If someone needs to apply for disability payments it is wise for them to do so with the help of an expert. Not only is the system slow, but it is also very complicated. Establishing that you have enough work credits is only the first hurdle. Applicants also need to have conditions or diseases that are included in the “Listing of Impairments”. Working out whether they do or not is best done by someone who has experience of the system and its quirks.