17th October 2017
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March 29th, 2017 Cat: Bisnis Online

America has two principal federal disability programs, both managed by the Social Security Administration. They have so much work these days, 3 million new applications this year alone though, that figure is not as impressive as what is expected to be next year – 10% higher still; and they will all join more than 10 million citizens who already suffer disabilities and receive something in the region of $200 billion every year in payments. Consider the case of Jack O’Neill, a fifty-year-old worker at a logistics company in Miami; this hard-worker has been at this job for more than 20 years now, but his hopes of a steady paycheck began to dim when the repetitive motions he has to perform this job moving boxes around, took their toll on his back. The company kept him around, seeing as how he was a loyal employee and all, but in the tough business environment they faced, after a while, they felt they could not keep a less-than-efficient worker around any longer. Cases like Jack’s, add up, slowly at first, and build up into a torrent that can completely overwhelm the disability claims system as it stands today.

The average disability claims applicant is 50 years old today; the country is basically in the same pickle that General Motors is in – all of the certain baby boomer generation is suddenly approaching old age, and with the economy is tanking too, the system is overwhelmed. What should happen, if the Social Security Administration should just go bankrupt? And just as bad to desperate supplicants, the overburdening slows down applications so much, they end up having to struggle for years before they get a check in the mail. California is one of several states that where ordinary people have an especially hard life – the state has furloughs, and the general economy is worse than it has ever been in addition. As least someone is hiring in states like this – the Social Security Administration is opening a half dozen new regional offices over the coming months, and is hiring plenty of hands to help with the plot. Even so, these are jobs that need a degree of expertise, and fresh trainees are simply not going to be pulling their weight for some time to come.

People who apply to claim federal disability benefits, need to know their fair chances. The government needs to see that the medical problem claimed for is a debilitating enough one to keep someone out of work, and will last for a year at least. Short of people who have obviously terrible personal injuries or health problems, like cancer or something, few people get through in the first claims round. Applicants put down a number of serious illnesses on the record these days, to improve their chances. People then apply for reconsideration, and that disability claims process can take six months; but about three out of four, do make the cut then. But those people have to then appear before a disability claims the judge, and half of all applicants fail to convince the judge. But at least they get the satisfaction of actual face time with the person who makes the decision. On average, this stage though can take up to two years, and often does. People just get by on food stamps, and handouts. The situation is undoubtedly pathetic. But at least, for all the waiting, in the end, the Social Security people do give you back pay.

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