Archive for September, 2009

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.

Social Security Administration to Pay SSI and Social Security recipients and applicants $500 Million under Settlement

U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilkens on August 11 tentatively approved a settlement that ends SSA’s policy of denying or suspending benefits based on an arrest warrant alone. As of April 1, 2009, no one applying for benefits will be denied benefits because of a felony warrant unless the applicant is in fact “fleeing.” SSA will pay $500 million in back benefits withheld from 80,000 people since January 1, 2007. Those whose benefits were denied or suspended between 2000 and 2006 and who are not receiving benefits will be notified so that they can re-establish eligibility.

For more information about the settlement and the changes in Social Security’s policies, go here: http://www.nsclc.org/ and here: http://www.nsclc.org/areas/social-security-ssi/Martinez-Settlement.

Read the Notice to Class Members about the settlement and about the Fairness Hearing on September 24 before Judge Wilkins. Click here to download the Notice to Class Members.