Two Suicides Alleged to Be Caused By Disability Benefits Reduction

There has been a lot of coverage lately about an alleged Social Security disability benefits scene that is said to involve people getting benefits to which they should not be entitled. While there are a lot of allegations being thrown around, and Congress has decided to get involved, the personal stories are often overlooked.   As a result of these allegations, the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) sent notice to several hundred people in Eastern Kentucky saying their benefits were about to be terminated.

writing-a-check-2-701013-mAccording to a recent news feature from The Lexington Herald Leader, two people who were receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits killed themselves after receiving the notice of termination from SSA. One person shot himself in the chin, and the following day a woman shot herself in the head. A lawsuit recently filed by the victim’s respective estates claims the two shootings were a direct response to the termination of benefits letters.

With respect to the allegations leading up termination of benefits, there are accusations that an attorney got doctors to sign records indicating a disability when the doctor had never actually seen the claimant to perform an examination. He is then accused to working with the judge to get claims approved and then worked with the judges to get these claims passed even tough the might otherwise be denied.

One of the plaintiff’s in recent lawsuit filed against the Social Security Administration learned that her benefits were being terminated via a letter she received on March 18. She was on disability because she had severe depression and according to pleadings, became suicidally despondent after learning her only source of income would be terminated and she should work to support herself. She was told she had 10 days to submit all of her medical records to show she was really disabled, but when she contacted her healthcare providers, she was told it would take at least 30 days to get her the records. On June 2, she shot herself in the head.

The other plaintiff was also disabled to due to severe depression and metal health issues. He stopped taking his medicine after receiving the notice of immediate suspension and killed himself soon thereafter. The case is filed under a theory of negligence alleging that the agency knew or should have known that sending immediate termination of benefits letters to claimants who were suffering from multiple medical conditions, including major depression, could result in suicides.   Plaintiffs’ attorney is claiming defendants were on notice of likelihood of these suicides, because at least one other person in the past had committed suicide after having benefits terminated.

It should be noted that there has been no finding of liability in connection with this case as of this time. The SSA expressed sadness when learning of the deaths and said the victims would remain in the thoughts of agency officials but would not comment on the situation directly due to ongoing litigation.

As our Boston disability attorneys have seen all too often, those opposed to the disability benefits use any accusation or issue as an opportunity to claim that most people are just pretending to be disabled so they don’t have to work, yet we know from vast experience this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

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

Additional Resources:

Lawsuit blames two suicides on move to cut disability benefits, January 16, 2016, Lexington Herald Leader, By Bill Estep

More Blog Entries:

Social Security Disability Claims Process, Jan. 23, 2015, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Blog

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