Articles Posted in Social Security Disability

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In a previous blog, we reported on the extensive wait that Pennsylvania residents can face when filing for Social Security Disability benefits. Many residents of Tennessee struggle with the same frustrations, but their congressman, U.S. Rep. John Tanner, is hoping to do something about it.

Tanner is the chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. In an article on nwtntoday.com, Tanner stated, “Since the beginning of 2009, the hearings backlog has begun to slowly decline. This shows that Congress’ investment in SSA is starting to pay off.” Tanner and the subcommittee have urged the Social Security Administration to continue to focus on reducing the backlog in disability claims. “Because applicants often have little or no income while awaiting a decision on benefits, the backlog has caused severe hardship to hundreds of thousands of Americans with significant disabilities,” Tanner said in a statement.

Beth Bates, a Jackson, TN attorney who works with disability claimants, testified before the subcommittee about the impact the backlog has had on her clients. Bates said, “Foreclosures and bankruptcies have increased, with claimants losing their homes and vehicles and their economic stability.”

Tanner and the subcommittee have made reducing the disability backlog a priority that will help social security disability claimants not only in Tennessee, but in all states.

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Attorney Michael J. O’Connor of Michael J. O’Connor & Associates recently appeared on a segment of “Life After 50”, which airs on television station KDKA in Pittsburgh. Attorney O’Connor discussed topics including social security disability, workers’ compensation, and nursing home abuse. The video clip below shows the episode of “Life After 50”.

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No one expects to suffer a disability, but when they do it can be a comfort to know that benefits are available through the Social Security Administration. If an individual is unable to work because of a medical disability that is expected to last no less than 12 months, he or she, and sometimes certain family members, may qualify for disability income. However, applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a lengthy, difficult, and sometimes frustrating process.3192341451_c79179e0c1.jpg

In order for an individual to receive disability benefits, he or she must complete the application process. Additionally, Social Security requires that applicants prove they cannot do any work of any kind. As a result of this requirement, many individuals are denied and must take the next step: a hearing in front of a judge. But according to a chart from the Social Security Administration, as an example of the timeframe for those filing in Pennsylvania, it can take approximately 437 days to schedule a hearing in the Wilkes-Barre office.

This extensive processing time is a result of the growing population, including the baby boomer generation who has become sick or disabled. As the Social Security Administration wrangles with the extensive list of individuals applying for benefits, requests for its services are further increased as a result of the economy. In an article on NPR.org, Social Security Deputy Commissioner David Foster commented on the increase in requests. “We expect those numbers to go up very much in the next few years because of the recession,” said Foster. He continued, “There’s usually a correlation between the unemployment rate and then the amount of disability claims that we have.”

As the economy struggles to recover, it is more important than ever for those applying for Social Security Disability or Social Security Income to consult an experienced lawyer as soon as a disability occurs. Social Security lawyers are well-versed and experienced in every aspect of the claim process. In addition, laws and regulations may have limits for action; an individual can lose his or her rights by waiting. A lawyer can help by preparing and filing the appropriate appeal paperwork and other required forms, as well as compiling all the medical evidence and presenting testimony at the appeal hearing.

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