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People seeking Social Security benefits face huge backlog, long delays (Wisconsin State Journal article)

Wisconsin State Journal
By JASON STEIN jstein@madison.com 608-252-6129 | Posted: Saturday, September 19, 2009 3:15 pm

MARSHALL — Ross Pettey likens his body to a “totaled-out car.”

But in spite of his three past back surgeries, a lung surgery, a bad shoulder, and a diagnosis of hepatitis C and pancreatitis, the former factory worker so far hasn’t won federal disability payments.

For two years, Pettey, 49, has struggled to get by while his Social Security disability case crawls through a bureaucracy that can take years to settle claims by disabled residents that they’re unable to work, especially in Wisconsin.

A Wisconsin State Journal investigation found the thousands of claimants in the state have some of the longest waits in the nation. The investigation uncovered claimants who have lost a home and savings, saw a marriage deteriorate and even attempted suicide as they waited on a system that approved their claims only after years of suffering.

Click here to read the full article on the Wisconsin State Journal’s website.