While Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits currently assist many in St. Louis and across the U.S. that are either unable to work or forced to care for another that is permanently disabled, there are still many out there that are in need of such assistance, yet for some reason are unable to qualify. Critics of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) qualification guidelines say that they are far too strict, denying families who genuinely need the assistance. Yet SSD proponents point to the potential opportunities for fraud and the SSA's ability to thus far accurately distribute payments to qualified beneficiaries as proof enough that current guidelines work.
Still, many are left wondering what exactly keeps them or their loved-ones from qualifying for benefits. Such is the case with a young Philadelphia girl left with permanent nerve damage after an accident during her birth. Her left arm was left completely paralyzed from the injury, making it difficult for her to maintain equilibrium and perform such basic tasks as dressing herself or being potty trained. Her family lives well below the poverty line, yet despite this fact, and even with an SSA judge recognizes the girl's limitations, the family has been denied three times for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provided by the SSA.
Her case represents a large portion of families looking for SSI benefits. Only 14% of low-income families dealing with disabilities currently receive SSI for long-term care. It's estimated that 60% of applications submitted on behalf of disabled children are denied, with a majority of the benefits that are approved going to children with mental disabilities. Sadly, many believe that the lack of benefits makes families with disabled children twice as likely to face homelessness and hunger as the average population.
Still, even if one has been denied benefits in that past, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't continue to fight for them. A lawyer with experience in arranging SSD/SSI benefits may be a powerful ally in helping families to achieve this aid.
Source: philly.com "Disability of 2-year-old raises questions on federal aid programs" Alfred Lubrano, Nov. 05, 2013