Back injuries, heart disease, hearing loss, depression, Parkinson's, cancer, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease and asthma. Those are simply some of the debilitating conditions that can qualify a person for Social Security Disability benefits.
No matter which condition is preventing you from working, there is something out there preventing you from getting immediate SSDI assistance: a long wait. Here in Charlotte, the wait for a SSDI hearing is 660 days, the Social Security Administration says on its website.
That 22-month wait for a hearing with an administrative law judge is a long one, especially for those struggling with illness or injury and a loss of employment and income. But it is not the longest wait in the U.S. That dubious honor goes to Buffalo, New York's wait of 25 months.
Marilyn Zahm, the head of the Association of Administrative Law Judges, says the wait is especially hard on those who need the help most. "You don't really have an income, you may need medical care and you may not have access to medical care," she said.
Zahm says the SSD backlog has always existed, but that it is "bigger than ever."
Last year, Social Security paid out more than $140 billion in benefits to approximately 11 million disabled workers and their families, according to a recent newspaper report.
Far too often, Charlotte residents go to that critical hearing unprepared. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can supply the judge with the information needed and be ready to answer the expected questions.