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SSDI: Backlog causes hardship for applicants waiting for approval

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2017 | Social Security Disability Insurance |

A news report recently drew attention to the number of people nationwide, including in California, who are waiting for the Social Security Administration to process applications for assistance. Reportedly, about 1 million people are waiting to find out whether they qualify for SSDI, and many have died while waiting for a response. A former truck driver explained the effect this situation has on those who have to go on living while waiting for approval by the association.

The man said years of trucking harmed his body, and he decided to pursue a new career. He trained as a locksmith, and although he loved the job, frequent lifting and moving of heavy safes caused more damage to his back. He was later diagnosed with degenerating discs, sciatica and neuropathy in both legs. He continued working at reduced hours for about two more years, but his boss had to let him go in Aug. 2015. Although he applied for SSDI after his diagnosis, he was still gainfully employed — even though his hours were drastically reduced — and his application was rejected.

When he became unemployed, he re-applied for SSDI and thought the answer would come as quickly as the rejection a couple of years earlier. However, all he received were more and more forms to fill out. He explained that, slowly but surely, he and his wife had to sell almost everything they owned to cover living expenses and his medication requirements. His wife even took her clothes to a consignment shop, and by Feb. 2016, they were homeless and had to relocate to live with family in another state.

Finally, after 12 months, in Aug. 2016, the man received notice that his application had been approved. They are now rebuilding their lives. California residents who are in similar situations may find it helpful to consult with an attorney who is experienced in fighting for the rights of workers who have contributed to SSDI for many years.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “I lost everything waiting for disability assistance. I bet I’m not the only one,” Eric Harwood, Sept. 25, 2017