The headline is jolting, troubling and sad all at the same time: “Suddenly disabled, unable to work and need benefits? Prepare for financial ruin first.” The headline is also, as many Charlotte residents understand, all too often accurate.
The article in a Dallas newspaper follows the story of a 51-year-old man who found himself suddenly disabled and unable to work. He filed for Social Security Disability benefits, but found that as the wait stretched out over months and months to even make his case to the Social Security Administration (SSA), bills piled up and his mental health spiraled down.
The Texas man who has diabetes, nerve damage and carpal tunnel said that filing for SSDI “was a last resort.” His family’s two incomes had been cut in half by his disability. SSA employees told him when he applied that because of a lack of staffing and funding, the wait could be from 12 to 18 months.
As regular readers know, the average wait across the nation is now approaching two years.
The disabled worker waited four years to apply for SSDI, after he was forced by nerve damage to leave his job at a company where he had worked for two decades. His 2016 claim was denied and he was told to expect to wait two more years to have his appeal heard.
As he and his wife wait some more, their daily expenses have eaten away savings and his 401(k). And still credit card balances continue to rise.
Still, he’s luckier than many who are forced to endure similar periods of waiting. At least he has an employed spouse to lean on, while many other disabled workers are on their own.
Waiting and wondering if you will be able to pay for the essentials is a tough way to go through your days.
A skilled attorney experienced in SSDI paperwork, processes and appeals can help you get the benefits you need and deserve.