Social security insurance is provided to people who are disabled and may not be able to work at a time when money is much needed.
“I had a slip and fall where I injured my spine. At 4, 5 and 6 in the neck”, says Antonio Evans, who has not been able to work since his accident in 2019. “I had to recover from being paralyzed from the neck down . “
At the hospital, the electrical engineer received information about the application for social insurance or SSDI.
“I’m still healing. I have a lot of pain in the nerve pathway along my arms,” Evans told the I-team.
That archiving process is known to be time consuming and complicated, but the pandemic has slowed down the government even more.
According to the Social Security Administration, changes were made when the pandemic hit, “to serve the public safely, contributing to increased delays and waiting times in certain priority service areas”. The agency’s services were temporarily shut down early in the pandemic and since they started, employees have worked remotely. Then it became difficult to receive medical documentation due to delays in the mail.
“It’s a difficult system to navigate. It’s like I’m not trying to do my income tax myself. It’s a complicated system. And I would say that social security and SSI disabilities are similar. The rules are incredibly complex,” said Tom Yates. which runs a non-profit legal clinic to assist low-income earners through the SSDI application process.
He said the pandemic made it difficult for archivists to obtain their necessary medical evidence.
“They’ve had trouble getting medical records or sending people out for medical examinations when they can,” Yates said. “So the whole process has really slowed down because of the pandemic. That is, I would not say collapsed, but for some people it is probably the same effect, just nothing is moving as it should be.”
Social Security told the I team that early in the pandemic, medical offices stopped all medical care of their choice and 30% of their medical providers are still reluctant to resume personal examinations.
Yates said this has disproportionately affected his customers.
“Either people can find out how to do it online but not everyone has access to the computer, especially in lower income groups, or they apply for a type of benefit where they actually have to talk to someone on the phone and then submit some sign documents and that slows down drastically the pace of applications, he says.
TJ Geist is a private claims consultant hired by applicants to help them get approval. He said the slowdown could dramatically affect people’s financial situation.
“The longer someone is in arrears, the more bankruptcies we see, exclusions, only general economic instability,” says Geist.
Lawyers, attorneys and private companies can help with the application process. The social insurance administration must first approve them. The fee is usually 25% of the benefits back with a ceiling of $ 6,000.
Some voluntary legal services, such as the one run by Yates, may help for free if you qualify.
It took Evans nine months to get his necessary disability funds after hiring a representative.
“There was no way I could have done it myself. I mean, I how can you with extensive disabilities be responsible for taking care of the paperwork,” he said.
Yates expects an increased application for disability in the near future by people experiencing long-term effects of COVID-19, which means an even greater burden on the system.
If you plan to apply for SSDI with representation, notify the Social Security Administration in writing as soon as possible so that they can approve your fee agreement.
Ways to apply
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