Disabled Americans Caught In Catch-22
As many New Yorkers know, getting government benefits is not an easy task. Whether you are unemployed or disabled, you may not be able to get the money you deserve when you need it the most.
It’s frustrating when a person is clearly disabled, but the government claims otherwise. It may take months and even longer than a year for those who appeal their denied claims to get a ruling from the federal government.
Many people around the country are denied benefits because they are caught in a catch-22. They applied for Social Security Disability. Due to their disabilities, these people thought they would be a shoo-in for monthly benefit payments. They were wrong.
They are in a catch-22 situation because they cannot receive unemployment benefits even they cannot work. That’s because applicants for unemployment benefits must be ready and willing to work. This obviously does not apply to disabled people. So when they apply for disability benefits, they are telling the government they are unable to work.
Most applicants are denied the first time around, so they file appeals. That’s when the wait begins. There is currently a backlog to hear appeals. People all around the nation are facing serious delays, with some as long as 22 months.
In 2013, the average delay was 382 days. This year, that number has increased to 590 days—approximately 19 months. That’s a long time to go without any income. As a result, many people face severe economic hardship, even bankruptcy. Sadly, some don’t receive approvals until after their death.
What is causing the delays? The number of applications has increased, while the number of judges and government employees has stayed the same. There are simply not enough judges to hear the cases and not enough employees to review the claims.
Who Can Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability benefits are available to those who meet eligibility requirements. You will need a certain amount of work experience before you can apply for benefits. This varies depending on your age at the time of disability. For example, if you become disabled before you reach age 28, you will need to have worked for at least 1.5 years. A disability at age 44 requires 5.5 years of work. If you become disabled at age 60, you will need 9.5 years of work.
Disability is not something that we often think about, but it happens quite often. A worker who is 20 years old today has a 25 percent chance of becoming disabled before retiring. A disability is defined as a serious medical condition that’s expected to last one year or longer or result in death. The law is very strict, so cases involving short-term or partial disability are denied.
Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits
If you cannot work due to a disabling condition, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. You will likely face denials and delays, however, so get help from the Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon. He has more than 20 years of experience handling Social Security Disability claims and can assist you. Contact his office at (914) 294-2145 to schedule a complimentary consultation.