Sunday, December 9, 2007

Disability Cases Last Longer as Backlog Rises

If you think the VA and the DOD are the only problem veterans have, think again because you are forgetting most of them had jobs too. When they cannot work any longer do to a wound of body or mind, they paid into this system expecting that when they could not work, the system would work for them. It doesn't. They are trapped in this system as well.

A first step of raising the number of judges to 1,200 will require at least $100 million extra for the agency beyond the $9.6 billion that President Bush has proposed for the 2008 fiscal year, Mr. Astrue said. Within a wide-ranging, $151 billion health, education and labor bill passed in November, the Democratic-controlled Congress voted for a $275 million increase for the agency. But Mr. Bush vetoed the bill, calling it profligate.

Disability Cases Last Longer as Backlog Rises
RALEIGH, N.C. — Steadily lengthening delays in the resolution of Social Security disability claims have left hundreds of thousands of people in a kind of purgatory, now waiting as long as three years for a decision.

Two-thirds of those who appeal an initial rejection eventually win their cases.

But in the meantime, more and more people have lost their homes, declared bankruptcy or even died while awaiting an appeals hearing, say lawyers representing claimants and officials of the Social Security Administration, which administers disability benefits for those judged unable to work or who face terminal illness.

The agency’s new plan to hire at least 150 new appeals judges to whittle down the backlog, which has soared to 755,000 from 311,000 in 2000, will require $100 million more than the president requested this year and still more in the future. The plan has been delayed by the standoff between Congress and the White House over domestic appropriations.
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My husband paid into a retirement fund while he was working his last job. Before that, he paid into Social Security. They turned down his claim the last time because "he didn't pay into the system in the last quarter" but the time before that, it was another excuse. It didn't matter to them that he will never work again. For us it would mean about $400 a month but it would also mean we wouldn't have to carry health insurance costing us $700 a month just for me on his retirement plan. I also have CHAMPVA, but that does not cover everything and doctors are still not happy about taking it as insurance.

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