Disabled Woman Struggles with Delays on Case

The tumors and cysts blinded Barbara Sales in her left eye and, years ago, lodged in her brain, have robbed her of far more than her sight and memory. Three seizures forced Sales, 53, to lose a job she’d hoped to get full time. Her maladies and medications, treatments for a rare genetic disease, have made her short-term memory so faulty that she once drove 100 miles in the wrong direction before realizing her mistake.

“I have photos of her face all bruised up because she got up in the middle of the night, had a seizure and fell into the dresser,” said her daughter Alicia Kroll, 25, who is a surgical nurse.

“She’s not normal, that’s all there is to it,” said her uncle, Charles McVey, 81, of Raytown.

Despite these difficulties, one question has for four years consumed the thoughts of this college-educated woman who worked full time for 25 years while raising her daughter as a divorced, single mom.

Why is it taking the government so long to decide whether she is eligible to receive Social Security disability? Sales’ situation goes to the heart of problems that have plagued the Social Security Administration for years: Underfunded and overwhelmed, it operates with a workforce that has remained all but flat for more than 20 years in the face of a rising population and an explosion of disability applications.

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