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Aug 25th
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Home News Community letters Smith: The Social Security Disability nightmare

Smith: The Social Security Disability nightmare

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This is the nightmare that “IS” Social Security Disability.

I was forced to resign from my last job almost two years ago, due to a serious physical disability cause by a surgery that went wrong.

I followed all the proper channels to establish my disability with the system. Unfortunately, I have now been denied twice by SSDA, and am having to hope for an expedient fair hearing.

I do have an advocate, but he isn’t any good for me until a hearing happens. The sad thing is, is that my advocate tells me that it will take another 10 months before a hearing will be scheduled for my case (“10 MONTHS?”).

Another sad thing about this is, my advocate tells me that it looks as if the worker at SSDA didn’t even read my file and just stamped me “DENIED.” It’s almost as if they pull names out of a hat, and deem those names to be denied for the entire process, thereby, forcing a hearing.

In the mean time, I have to rely on my wits and doing anything as creative as I can to keep finances from slipping away.

Some have told me to contact my local Congress member (which I have), but his assistant tells me that there isn’t much that they can do for me either.

I do keep my hopes up, that his office can have some kind of clout, to talk the SSDA into having my hearing moved up sooner.

I am lucky (if you can call it luck) to have served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Due to that, I am eligible for some cash assistance, but it wasn’t much for the first year. I feel for those who have had no assistance at all.

I have worked my entire life and hardly ever lost time and collected unemployment.

I watched as thousands of refugees are brought into our country and given cash and homes. All I am asking for is something that I’ve earned, but yet I am denied.

What is wrong with this country? What a nightmare!
David W. Smith lives in Nice, Calif.

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Comments (10)Add Comment
Pure and Simple?
written by Greg_Cornish, December 07, 2012
Its a racket.
written by ca215, December 07, 2012
...when a person who totally qualifies for Soc Sec Disability automatically gets turned down the first time paperwork is submitted. I have NO doubt that the first time Mr Smith's file was on top of the stack it was not read at all as he suspected...just rubberstamped "DENIED" so that filing an appeal would have to be done.

What about the poor people who don't know about advocacy, don't know they will 99.9% of the time be turned down the first time any filing is done, and might presume they have no rights in what really is a nightmare?

Of course the lawyers, etc., get a large portion of the client's first benefits check, IF the person's case is approved. The retroactivity of that check is true but only going back one year instead of to the first date of application.

Must be nice to be on the receiving end of a chunk of a disabled persons' money. In the beginning there was no automatic first-time turn down, no necessity to hire attorneys and so on, no having to wait up to a year or more to hear Yes or No from The Authority.

A lot of people do not know that applying for BOTH SSA and what was called General Assistance years ago --- at the same time --- is the way to get things rolling. While waiting for the (hopefully) SSA check to first arrive in the mail, the G A pittance might serve to keep people fed and keep them from being forced to live homeless out on the streets.
Of course now that being homeless is a citable offense, there's just more $$$$ for the legal system.

I wonder how the people who administer these programs sleep at night. Hopefully they have nightmares about not having any shelter, food, some way to not freeze due to having to hide away and not be arrested for the heinous crime of being poor.
written by ravenlu, December 05, 2012
I'm with Rex--hurry up and get them all the documentation, verifications, doctor records, that are required and DEMANDED only to be told "take a number go home and wait." Meanwhile, you starve and go homeless. I know someone who's been to every doctor appt she's required to attend only to be denied. The appeal goes on and on. It's been years. Now her hearing is scheduled for February. Location--Santa Cruz!!! How the heck do you get there with no car and no money?? Go figure. :/
The image didn't post.
written by Greg_Cornish, December 05, 2012
I'll try again.

we are in a depression
written by Greg_Cornish, December 05, 2012
The only reason we aren't in a depression is because the government won't call a spade a spade. We are in a severe depression cause by putting wars on credit cards. This is an example of how you finance war.

If we had all sacrifice before or better yet, stayed out of Iraq we wouldn't be facing such severe problems at home.

It's time to cut foreign aid and focus on us.
written by jmadison, December 05, 2012
This is what the Repubicicans call "cutting entitlement spending" if it is just lazy people that won't work. I would rather see Obama let the Repubs take us over the cliff than to let them have their way with the budget.
written by a guest, December 05, 2012
It's the same thing the government is doing to the welfare programs. Services are being cut just as all unemployment extensions are being stopped. There will be families that will be homeless and yet our goverment continues to make these additional cuts. While welfare is a hot button issue for many we need to not forget that there are real people and real families that need these programs.
Something Is Really Rotten In This Business
written by futhark, December 05, 2012
There ought to be a Congressional investigation into the Social Security Disability application process. My wife applied after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's by a local neurologist and was discharged from her job. We were warned that very few applicants, even those with severe disabilities, qualified on the first round. Almost immediately I started getting SPAM emails from attorneys and other professional "advocates" to contract them to guide us through an appeal. I wasn't paying that much attention, figuring that her disability was so obvious and severe. Her claim was, of course, denied. Due to my own cancer and hospitalization, it was over a year before we could get back to pursuing the paperwork for an application. We were advised by professionals in the business of setting up trusts for the elderly that hiring such an advocate was almost universally a requirement for a successful appeal, so we contracted an advocate, who received a not inconsiderable portion of the back payments due when the appeal was successful. The Social Security appointed psychologist immediately identified my wife as a severe case and assured us that she would be recommended for qualification, so her payments did come through.

My beef is the apparent security leak between the Social Security Administration and these private advocate agencies. I might just as well have hired a billboard "My Wife Has Alzheimer's" for all the confidentiality we had in the process. Who in Social Security is leaking the names and addresses of those denied? How much are they being paid? How much are the advocates paying the deciders to make sure most claims are denied? There are some skunks in this woodpile who need to be found out and exposed. I have lost all faith in Social Security as a result of this nightmare.
Took 18 months...
written by Rex, December 05, 2012
...for my Dad to get benefits. After a broken back and four surgeries. This was 15 years ago. It seems in this age of instant information they could do better... ' They send you a 'retroactive' payment if you're approved, but you'll starve in the meantime. And they want to cut these programs for the disabled even more. Shame.
I hear ya.
written by The_Geek, December 05, 2012
It amazes me who gets benefits and who is denied.

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