Viewers in our area filing for Social Security Disability insurance benefits and waiting years for answers. Sadly, some die before they even get a final answer from the government. So whatâ€™s being done to help and how is the backlog here, one of the worst in the country, getting reduced?
Talk about waiting. The SSA says the hearing office in Greenville is one of the most backlogged in the country. The latest stats they gave us show the average processing time for a case is more than 2 years. There are only four other offices in the country that have processing times worse than this one: Dayton, Indianapolis, Altanta North and Atlanta.
We went to the SSAâ€™s regional headquarters in Atlanta to get answers from spokesperson Patti Patterson.
When we asked Patterson why 65% of cases are denied at initial level she replied, â€œCongress has imposed a very strict definition of disability for us. The definition of disability for our purposes is that your condition must be so severe that you are unable to work for at least a year or result in death.â€
Some of those wait times are so long in 2007 the head of the SSA testified before Congress people have died before they get their day in court.
â€œAt the hearing level we win, nationally, we win over 65% which tells you those earlier denials were not right,â€ an attorney said.
If you have applied for disability benefits and have been denied make sure you appeal. Many people hire attorneys for help. They canâ€™t charge a fee unless they win. Also contact your local Congressman to get your case the attention it needs. They have staff members who deal directly with social security disability claims. For a list of Congressmen in your area click here:
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