Long Waits For Disability Benefits are the Rule not Exception

From NPR and the Kaiser News Network: By the time Stephenie Hashmi was in her mid-20s, she had achieved a lifelong dream — she was the charge nurse of one of Kansas City’s largest intensive care units. But even as she cared for patients, she realized that something was off with her own health.

“I remember just feeling tired and feeling sick and hurting, and not knowing why my joints and body was hurting,” she says.

Hashmi was diagnosed with systemic lupus, a medical condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. She’s had surgery and other treatments, but now, at age 41, Hashmi is often bedridden. She finally had to leave her job about six years ago, but when she applied to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits, she was denied.

“I just started bawling,” she recalls. “I felt like, if they looked at my records or read these notes, surely they would understand my situation.”

In the U.S., less than half of all people who apply for disability benefits — about 45 percent — are ultimately accepted, says Lisa Ekman with the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. Getting a hearing takes an average of nearly 600 days.

It is not easy to get disability benefits, and it’s a very complicated and difficult process. Get help at an early stage.http://wp.me/p2Mppl-LU

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