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DYING TO WAIT: APPEALING THE DENIAL OF FEDERAL DISABILITY INSURANCE

As baby boomers enter their golden years, they are applying for more financial assistance from the federal government because of a disability or financial hardship. In 2017, ten-thousand people died waiting for that help - over a thousand more people than the previous year.

The budget for the Social Security Administration has not kept pace with increased need and employees are stretched thin by the demands of file processing and follow-up. If approved the average benefit is about $1,200 a month - similar to rent for a 2-bedroom home in Vermont.

How is eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance decided? Adults may qualify if they have one or multiple ailments that meet predetermined definitions as laid out by the administration. Within those groups are subgroups, definitions, and diagnostic and documentation requirements. Children are in a separate category.

When people are denied coverage they may appeal the decision and request a hearing with a federally appointed judge. Over 800,000 Americans are on the appeals wait-list after being denied coverage, and the average wait time is about a year and a half.

For more information read the article by USA Today.


Side note:

  • The majority of Vermonters who receive SSDI also have to work to try and stay above the federal poverty threshold.