Suddenly Disabled – Part 3

October 15, 2014

I’ve posted for two weeks in a row about what it would be like to be suddenly disabled or facing the disability of a child.  I’ve emphasized the importance of paying Social Security Disability benefits for you and your dependents.  This week, I want to suggest improvements to the system.

First, the time it takes for a person to go through the disability process is lengthy.  I tell people I may be working with them up to 2 or 3 years and this remains the case.  2 or 3 years of no income is devastating.  I see people lose homes, moving in with family members which causes additional stress and having to relocate families across the country.  While most financial planners suggest having one or two years of emergency savings in the bank, even this sum (which most people do not have) will not necessarily provide enough of a cushion if you are suddenly disabled.  SSA needs to hire more staff to speed up the process.  I have seen the numbers and spoken with people at local offices.  There is no way they can do more than they are doing without additional resources.

Second, even if a person is approved for benefits, there is a 5 month waiting period for benefits and another 24 months for a total of 29 months of a waiting period for Medicare eligibility for the majority of disabled folks.  It is reprehensible to me that people who are found to be disabled are denied Medicare for another two and a half years.  Often those are the years in which treatment could provide the most benefit — certainly if you have cancer, you cannot wait 29 months for treatment.  This waiting period should be eliminated.





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