Disability Benefits Aren’t That Easy to Get

On behalf of local Social Security disability attorneys, I need to correct the misconceptions and false statements in the March 13 Dispatch article “Disability benefits on rise in Ohio since 2008.”

First, Bob Funk, CEO of staffing company Express Employment Professionals, guessed that many collecting disability benefits are ages 25 to 39, but in fact, the average age of people receiving disabled-worker benefits in 2013 was 53.4 years old, and it has increased steadily since 1996. In Ohio, only 11.6 percent of the individuals receiving disability benefits are under 40. And the number of new claims being filed is decreasing, as well.

Second, the Social Security disability system is anything but lenient and empathetic. In order to be found disabled, an individual must prove that he or she is unable to engage in any type of employment, including such jobs as parking-lot attendant and silverware wrapper.

Since 2011, the number of claims approved by Social Security Administration at the level of an administrative law judge hearing had fallen from 58 percent to 41 percent in Ohio as of February.

That means, in simple terms, that Social Security denies 6 out of every 10 claims, after all levels of appeal.

Finally, in Ohio, a disabled individual will wait almost 21/2 years to have a claim heard by an administrative law judge. During that time, the claimant will have no income. This can lead to foreclosures, bankruptcies, homelessness and even death before the claim can be heard.

SHANNON BATESON, Attorney

Columbus

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