We often discuss on this blog how obtaining Social Security Disability benefits is rarely easy, even for people who need it most. This week, a heartbreaking story about a man who has been dealt an unfair hand in life only makes that point more clear.

The story was featured in a west coast newspaper article and involves a difficult situation that many struggling Americans have found themselves in. The story is about a man who was working hard to scrape up enough money to barely get by, only to be diagnosed with a rare and disabling disease.

After spending more than a month in the hospital for what doctors have diagnosed as transverse myelitis, auto-immune disorder of the spinal cord, the 46-year-old is paralyzed below the breastbone and can no longer work.

Being out of work means that the man is close to being kicked out of his tiny efficiency apartment as he cannot afford his rent. Luckily, the man’s landlord is a kind person who understands that his tenant is going through struggles out of his control. But the landlord is trying to earn a living, too, and can’t let the tenant live there rent free.

The landlord told the newspaper reporter that he wishes the government would step in and help his tenant. He said that the tenant likely qualifies for Supplemental Security Income, but it will likely take months before the Social Security Administration decides to grant benefits.

“Why don’t we have something to help people in his situation?” the landlord asked the newspaper reporter.

Unfortunately, this is a question asked by many struggling Americans and the people who care about them. While benefits are available through the federal government, they often take months or even years to obtain, only causing an applicant’s situation to go from bad to worse.

The good news is that Social Security Disability lawyers are available to act as advocates for SSD applicants and can help make sure that applications are filed correctly the first time, which can speed up the approval process. Without this help, SSD would much more difficult to obtain for many Americans who need it most.

Source: Statesman Journal, “Man with rare, paralyzing condition waits for help,” Carol McAlice Currie, July 30, 2014