Social Security Disability Reform

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    Social Security Disability Coalition
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Money is taken out of your paychecks every week for Social Security, and SSD and as of January 2003 the US government GAO has designated Social Security Disability a HIGH risk area for 2003. You could face homelessness, bankruptcy and even death trying to get your benefits when you need them the most. Anyone could suddenly find themselves in a situation where they need to access this fund such as an accident, catastrophic illness, a victim of a crime, military personnel, veterans and now we have the threat of terrorist attacks these are unfortunate realities of life. Millions of people across the country become disabled unexpectedly - 12,000 per week in this country apply for long-term disability benefits. What happens if your work disability insurance runs out, if you dont have it, or worse yet become unemployed? You will then need to turn to the most mismanaged system in the country the Social Security Disability System. What you will find is that the current system is set up to kill you so they dont have to pay you. Billions of dollars are being spent in foreign lands and on pork barrel programs, and we want the government to focus on and fix this growing problem here at home now. Here are just a few of the major issues we would like to see addressed:

We are concerned about what transpires from the first point of contact, the filing for benefits, and the final outcome or status. Disability benefits determinations should be based solely on the physical or mental disability of the applicant. Neither age, education or any other factors should ever be considered when evaluating whether or not a person is disabled. Discrimination of this form is highly illegal in this country, yet this is a standard practice when deciding Social Security Disability determinations and should be considered a violation of our Constitution. This practice should be addressed and eliminated immediately. Many people who apply for disability dont look sick - you cant tell if a person has cancer, heart disease, diabetes or any other debilitating diseases just by looking at them. We did not chose this fate it was forced upon us! Yet we are treated as disposable people and often viewed as lazy or frauds. The extraordinary time it takes to process a claim from the original filing date should be eliminated. Why should we have to become homeless, bankrupt, starve, lose our healthcare coverage, suffer untold stress on top of our illnesses, and even die trying to get our benefits? We are now being told that because of the backlog that these are the only circumstances that anyone will even look at our paperwork now no matter how sick we are. Why should we have to file for welfare, food stamps and Medicaid after we have lost everything due to this backlog - another horrendous process - because of the inadequacies in the Social Security Disability offices and then have to pay Social Services back from our measly benefit checks? Nobody else who files for public assistance has to do that why are disabled people being discriminated against?

If we provide sufficient medical documents when we originally file for benefits why should we ever be denied at the initial stage, have to hire lawyers, wait years for hearings, go before administrative law judges and be treated like criminals on trial? Too much weight at the initial time of filing, is put on the independent medical examiners opinion who only sees you for a few minutes and has no clue how a patients medical problems affect their lives after only a brief visit with them. An even worse problem is the poor review of cases by DDS caseworkers which causes too many unjustified delays and denials. Decisions should be based more on the treating physicians opinions, and medical records. The listing of diseases that qualify a person for disability should be expanded and updated more frequently to include newly discovered crippling diseases such as the many autoimmune disorders that are ravaging our citizens.

We have contributed our hard earned money to this system hoping we would never need it until we were ready to retire. Where is the money going that has been robbed from our paychecks every week? Disease and tragedy does not discriminate based upon age, race, sex or any other factor. The disabled citizens of this nation have been forced to tackle a very daunting system . We challenge you to do the same and expose and correct this problem on a national level. The Social Security Administration, a Federal program, administered by the states will admit that our elected officials have the power to reform the system. Why should we have to become homeless, bankrupt, starve, lose our healthcare coverage, suffer untold stress on top of our illnesses and even die trying to get our benefits? We the undersigned say to all members of the US Government:

For everyone of us that starves, becomes homeless or loses our healthcare during this process we blame you!
For everyone of us who files for bankruptcy during this process we blame you!
For the unfathomable stress and suffering we have inflicted upon us during this process we blame you!
For everyone of us who becomes more ill or worse yet dies during this process we blame you!

We want to know why our elected officials seem to be ignoring this crisis and doing nothing to reform it? We want to know what, if anything is being done to correct this critical issue that affects millions of sick and dying Americans. Please start taking care of the US citizens living in this country whom elected you into office. It is your duty as elected officials to serve all those that voted you into that office and even those of us who didn't. When the next election comes around we will not forget those who have forgotten us. The government may be trying to rob millions of disabled people from their money, and also neglect us, but remember we millions of citizens still have, and will use our right to vote. A country is only as strong as the citizens who live in it. On behalf of the Social Security Disability Coalition we ask, disabled and healthy Americans alike, that you please do something to fix this serious problem now!