Social Security is broke and broken according to the federal government. In my middle-aged mind, this is the ONLY truth regarding the entire Social Security plan. Politicians and government officials have offered fancy, theoretical solutions for decades. Like so many others, I am sick and tired of these big ideas; they are clearly a load of bull crap.
Did you know the social security disability insurance (SSDI) service professionals assert 65% of claims filed without the representation and assistance of professionals are denied SSDI? According to the first, nationwide private Social Security disability claims services company, “Level Two – Reconsideration… Approximately 87 percent of first appeals are denied.” Additionally 62% of level three claims are approved. The backlog of claims made the average wait time about a year at level two and over 400 days at level three. Hhhmmmm. What does all of that paperwork cost OUR social security retirement program? How does SSDI even begin to fit into the description of retirement anyway?
My SSDI Experience
It was 1984 when I awoke to the sound of a friends whisper and the whooshing sound of a breathing machine. The nurse whisked her away before I could try to answer. Some days later, I awoke to another friends whisper and her look of total fear. “Do I look that bad?” No, not really, you have a black eye, she replied with a quivery voice. Someone please bring me a mirror, I exclaimed in an unknowing whisper! The nurse again hurried my friend out of the room. Being insistent upon seeing my face, the nurse finally obliged. I stared for a moment and said, “I don’t look that bad.” Had it not been for the huge amount of drugs administered I may have screamed!
One eye was closed; both were black, and the road burn created a U from one cheek to the other. It was only where the helmet strap crossed under my chin that I could see skin. Oh and my lips were ok too!
About three weeks after the motorcycle accident I was discharged, wheelchair bound. It was unclear if the surgery would be successful and remained as such for nearly two more months. My injuries included a compound fracture of the left femur, a severed femoral artery, several fractures of the tibia, a fractured skull, a broken nose, fluid on the brain, and approximately 80% of my body covered in road burn. Oh and I almost forgot the 140 stitches, pneumonia, and a hole in my calf too. First my cousin, and later my parents, traveled from Philadelphia to help us. They provided money to get us through the first month. Friends, family, and co-workers prayed daily for our recovery.
The driver who hit us was drunk until he saw my body, scared him straight and therefore he was not charged with a DUI. With a denial from my insurance company and no money, I was forced to perform physical therapy at home using cans of vegetables and socks. Otherwise, I may never have walked again.
In response to a friend’s suggestion, I applied for emergency temporary social security disability insurance. The claim was quickly processed much to my surprise but denied. The SSA caseworker said it could take years to get SSDI approval but we needed immediate help. I wrote letters to our governor and state representatives. A few weeks later state assistance, food stamps and medical coverage, was approved for my family. My son was just two years old at the time. Thankfully, Florida does provide for its children and families in crisis.
Three and a half months after the accident my orthopedic surgeon agreed to my attempt to walk, which I admittedly had tried on my own prior to the visit. He warned the femur was not fused and the bones could twist, causing a permanent limp. State assistance did not pay the bills. Limp or not, I needed to work and feed my son! The accident occurred early in August. By the week of Thanksgiving I began my new assistant manager job in the convenience store. The manager was a neighbor and hired me even though I walked with a cane. Another blessing.
Now I ask you, how could I not be able to walk and have all of those documented injuries, yet NOT qualify as disabled the first time? What is wrong with this picture???
Obviously, God had a plan and gave me the courage to succeed without SSDI. I’m not bitter. My attitude is quite the contrary. I’m thankful for the help, prayers, and healing. As my doctor told me, “Your recovery has defied all medical truths. Through you I have truly witnessed a miracle. ”
What’s your opinion on paying disability insurance with social security funds?