We have had a request from Congressional staff seeking information about veterans with disabilities encountering difficulties in accessing services from local Social Security Administration offices or veterans that have had any problems obtaining Social Security Disability benefits. As you may know, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has in place processes to speed applications for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits by service members being retired for significant disabilities. Because of budget cuts to Social Security’s administrative account over the last several years, there has been growing concern over that agency’s ability to properly serve beneficiaries and applicants. For example, it takes roughly 650 days for a beneficiary seeking to appeal denial of SSDI benefits to obtain a hearing because of claims backlogs, reductions in administrative law judges and other effects of funding constraints. Two years ago, a Congressional representative in New Mexico discovered that her local SSA office was turning veterans with disabilities away to avoid having to undertake the expedited process for SSDI benefits.
We would be grateful for any experiences you or your family members may have had in trying to get services from your local Social Security office. Please feel free to relay any information about such matters – along with the state in which you reside to Susan Prokop in PVA’s Advocacy Program by Thursday morning to firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-416-7707. Many thanks.
PVA Membership Dept.