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Three years is a long wait

When we hear news stories in Philadelphia reporting of fraud in relation to Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, we are often disappointed. One reason is the misallocation of funds. A fraudulent claim deprives those with valid disabilities of resources. But it is also disappointing, because that is virtually the only time SSDI issues make news.

So it is refreshing to see a story that describes the other side of the story, that of a person with a disability finally being awarded their benefits. The Social Security disability application process can be long and arduous, because the many anti-fraud provisions make the process complex and demanding.

A woman from Buffalo, New York was on the verge of losing her home when she finally obtained approval of her claim for SSDI. She had applied for SSDI in July of 2011, and her application went on appeal with Social Security's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in February of 2013.

She had the misfortune to receive an administrative law judge (ALJ) who was notoriously slow in adjudicating claims. That ALJ retired and her case was reassigned to a new judge. That judge reviewed her case and allowed her claim.

It is hoped that two new ALJs in the ODAR office in Buffalo will speed up the processing of claims and reduce the backlog of cases.

The disabled woman was greatly relieved when she finally received her two years of retroactive disability payments.

This case illustrates why you want to file your claim as soon as you become disabled. It may take months or more to receive your benefit payments, and if they are approved, the payments will be retroactive for your claim.

WIVB.com, "Three-year wait for Social Security Disability finally over," Al Vaughters, News 4 Reporter, September 3, 2014

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee