Our post earlier this week focused on the very real threat that disability can strike anyone at any time, without warning and regardless of current physical health. This is one of the many reasons why keeping programs like Social Security Disability Insurance adequately funded should be a non-political issue with widespread support.
Coincidental to our earlier post is a recent news article that highlights the truly unpredictable nature of disability. It tells the story of a man who has become paralyzed by a rare medical condition and now struggles to make ends meet as he waits for approval of his disability claim.
The focus of the article is a 46-year-old man named Robert, who lives in Oregon. His health was certainly not perfect prior to becoming paralyzed, but he was able-bodied enough to work. He made a very modest living by working a part-time sales job and bringing in extra cash by collecting and recycling scrap metal.
In June, Robert was diagnosed with a very rare auto-immune disorder known as transverse myelitis, which paralyzed him from the breastbone downward. Statistically, his chances of a full recovery are about one in three. He may also partially recover control of his lower body over time, but he could also be one of the 33 percent of TM patients who require a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.
Like many Americans who become disabled, Robert does not have a financial or social safety net to speak of. He has a loving wife and a compassionate landlord who is willing to wait on rent, but that’s about it. The Social Security Administration’s regional office is reportedly trying to expedite his claim, but the process still takes a significant amount of time.
If you have become disabled and can no longer work as a result, you probably have mounting bills and few financial options. As such, waiting through a lengthy claims and appeals process is the last thing you want to do. Working with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can make the process easier and faster. And although success is not a guarantee, an SSD attorney will help you present the strongest possible case for why you need and deserve benefits.
Source: Statesman Journal, “Man with rare, paralyzing condition waits for help,” Carol McAlice Currie, July 30, 2014