Who Do Disability Benefits Help?

October 2, 2013

Social Security Disability benefits help your friends, your colleagues and your neighbors.  Consider the following people who are receiving benefits:

  • Kim worked as paralegal for over 20 years.  For over six years, she maintained her job while undergoing kidney dialysis twice weekly.  To help her cope with how fatigued she was by this invasive treatment, her employer made adjustments to her work schedule to allow her to keep working.  In 2010, she was finally too worn out from the treatment to continue working and she applied for Social Security Disability benefits.  She is currently waiting for a kidney transplant, which she hopes will extend her life and improve her health to a point that she can return to work.  In the meantime, the cash and medical benefits she receives as a result of the taxes she paid for over 20 years provide greatly needed assistance and will allow her to undergo a transplant when a kidney becomes available.

  • Tara, a 47-year-old woman, held down a demanding job as medical receptionist. After her son was killed in Iraq, she began to have problems with depression and anxiety. Her mental problems led to cyclical vomiting syndrome, a problem which caused her to have over 50 emergency treatments and hospital admissions over a one-year period due to her inability to stop vomiting without medical intervention. While disability benefits were pending, her husband took on extra hours at work to help pay their mortgage and medical bills; other family members pitched in to take care of Tara. When Social Security benefits were finally approved, Tara’s husband was able to go back to a 40-hour work week and return to taking care of his critically ill wife.

  • Mark is a 53-year-old who suffered a shotgun injury at age 15. Despite undergoing surgery that left him with a three inch reduction in the length of the right arm and limited use of the right hand, Mark worked a battery plant for over 25 years and then took on lighter work as an emergency medical technician, recalling how much he admired the first responders to his own injury years before. Because of his reduced ability to use his right extremity, Mark increasingly relied on his left arm and hand, resulting in overuse injuries to his left hand and back. Social Security approved benefits for Mark, which has helped him support his family as he has done for over 30 years.

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