According to The Washington Post, 10,000 people have died in the past year waiting on disability benefits because of a backlog in the judicial system. 55-year-old Joe Stewart waited almost two years — 597 days — for a decision on federal disability benefits, after being rejected twice. In the past two years, the Post reports more than 18,000 have died while awaiting a judge’s decision on benefits. The simplest explanation? There simply isn’t enough money. More on the desperate situation is available at The Washington Post.
As the government steps up its call to remove more people from receiving disability payments, statistics show that the number of recipients who return to the workforce is small: only 3.7% of disabled workers do within 10 years of receiving their first payment. The Washington Post has more in this story about how hard it can be for disabled people to go back to work.
Robert Fowler worked for 20 years at Exxon, helped run a family business, managed a retirement community, and even worked as a security guard. But an ischemic stroke last November left him unable to work, and forced him to apply for Social Security disability. But Fowler, like so many Americans, feels shame in having to apply for government benefits. His wife lost her job, too, forcing them to apply for food stamps. The Washington Post has Fowler’s first-person account of the shame so many disabled people feel when they have to apply for assistance.
A Michigan employee of the Social Security Administration with muscular dystrophy is in a legal fight to maintain his benefits. Budget cuts are blamed for cutting benefits to Chris Meadows, who may be forced out of his home as well. Read more about his story at Legal Scoops.
A retired federal judge in Kentucky has changed his plea of innocence to charges that he and a lawyer scammed the government out of approximately $600 million after efforts to dismiss the case were denied. Retired Social Security Judge David B. Daughtry and disability lawyer Eric Conn were indicted in April for allegedly creating a seven-year scheme to get millions of dollars in disability payments. More details in this story at Legal NewsLine.
You may need to move fast, unless you’re grandfathered into the old system.