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Federal regulations prevent dying woman from getting her benefits

When people in Missouri and across the nation have an illness, condition or injury that renders them unable to work, they may have the option to seek assistance from the federal government. Social Security disability benefits are meant to help these individuals and leave them free of worry as to how they are going to make ends meet as they try to improve sufficiently to get back to normalcy. In some instances, the person is suffering from a terminal disease like cancer that will not get better. Federal regulations allow those in this situation to have their benefits approved rapidly based on compassionate allowance. However, there are sometimes problems with this that make it necessary to have legal assistance.

A woman who is suffering from terminal cancer is waiting for her disability benefits even though she has been approved for benefits. The government has a waiting period for her and thousands of others who are in a similar situation. Many will never see one cent of their benefits because they will not live long enough. The woman, 49, gets chemotherapy to treat her ovarian cancer. It is at Stage IV and has spread to other parts of her body.

The woman has children and grandchildren and is so ill that she cannot work. She suffers from various side effects due to her illness and the treatment. She is having financial problems and is worried that she will lose her home and not have it to give to her family after she passes. She was approved in February because she meets the criteria for qualifying SSD benefits for illness and will get $1,900 every month. Unfortunately, she must wait until July for the payments to commence. This is in spite of the fact that she has worked since she was in her early teens and has paid into the Social Security program for more than three decades. The Compassionate Allowance program expedited her approval, but there is still a six-month wait. Others have faced a similar dilemma and her representative in congress is trying to eliminate the waiting period. She is hoping the law will be changed even if it comes too late to assist her.

It is a reality that the Social Security Administration often has rules that will fail to assist the most vulnerable in society who are most deserving of disability benefits. With the litany of complicated issues that can prevent people from receiving their benefits, it is imperative to have legal help when filing a case or dealing with the SSA for any other reason.

Source: Chicago.cbslocal.com, "2 Investigators: Disability System Waits Out Terminally Ill Applicants," Dave Savini, March 9, 2017

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
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