Social Security Disability Services Reduced Due to Budget Cuts

Over the past couple of years, we have been hearing a lot about how there is not enough money in the budget for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.  For a while, it looked like Congress might not approve a stopgap measure to shift money from the much larger Social Security Old Age and Retirement Program and the Social Security Survivors programs to the two disability programs.

workHowever, apparently realizing that it would be very bad in the middle on one of the most divisive elections in our nation’s history to let around 11 million Americans have their monthly benefits checks slashed by nearly 20 percent, they decided to add additional funding at what was basically the final hour.  This allowed us to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff at the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) for at least the next few years.

While there is enough money to fully fund all existing benefits, there have been many cuts on the administration side, and that is turning out to mean less service, slower service, and longer wait times for those who are applying for Social Security disability benefits, according to a recent news article from The Washington Post.

A recent report, while not a surprise to anyone familiar with the situation, shows us how bad things have become for those who are trying to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.  The reality of the situation is that even when the help at SSA was better, as it used to be, the system is set up in such a way that makes it very difficult for an unrepresented claimant to get through the process and get benefits. For this reason, one of the best things you can do if you are trying to obtain disability benefits is to speak with an experienced Boston Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible. It is generally easier for your attorney to help you get things right in the beginning, as opposed to fixing things once they have already gone badly.  This is not to say you shouldn’t contact an attorney, but the case may take longer the farther into the process you have gotten on your own.

For example, many claimants will ask their doctor for a letter stating that they are disabled. While this is certainly necessary, the doctor is likely going to use what he or she as a doctor has been trained to know in determining a disability, as opposed to the definition used by SSA.  While it seems strange that there are different definitions for disabled, this is because the SSA uses a legal definition as opposed to a medical definition. To make matters even more confusing, the legal definition that SSA uses for a person having a disability and being unable to work is different than the legal definition the Veterans Administration (VA) uses to determine if a service member is disabled.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

Social Security service declines as waits at offices grow, December 9, 2016, By Joe Davidson, The Washington Post

More Bog Entries:

Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 22, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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