Monday, March 27, 2017

Eight thousand people died waiting for a disability hearing in 2016

People die waiting for a disability hearing (while Congress and the White House debate cutting it further)

I have to admit I am a bit surprised to read this article in the Washington Times, a conservative leaning paper. Very often, such papers facilitate attacks on the disability system. Here are some quotes from the article. “The situation is really bad for the claimants right now. . The bottom line is inadequate funding of Social Security,” said Lisa Ekman, director of governmental affairs for the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. It is an association of attorneys representing people with disabilities.

“Eight thousand people died during fiscal year 2016 who were waiting for a (disability) hearing,” Ekman said. “That’s 23 people a day, almost one an hour to get a hearing. . We see people who lose their homes. We see people who are evicted. We see people who can’t afford to pay for medications, who become very debilitated while they wait. It creates people who are homeless.”

"The problem: An overwhelming number of applications for disability - about 2.3 million in 2016, up from 1.7 million in 2002 but down from a peak in 2010 - flow into a system in which 77 percent of initial claims have, over the last decade, been denied. Moreover, the backlog of decisions on first-time claims is massive."

None of this is new, of course. What is new is that we have a new administration that seems very willing to join in on the attacks to the disability system.

I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

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Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.