When you think of Social Security Disability (SSD), you may think that because it is part of the Social Security program, it is primarily for the elderly. It is true that the majority of SSD beneficiaries are older than 50 years of age. This makes sense, given that many disabilities are due to wear and tear on working people, and as they become older, medical conditions can impair their ability to work.

But benefits are available for those age 18 and older. If you have worked the requisite period of time, you could be eligible for disability benefits. However, the challenges with the application process and the potential delays are as much a problem as they are for older disabled workers.

A young man who suffers from  cerebral palsy, is struggling to afford his college education as his illness compromises his ability to work and pay for school. He had been working in a local store, but his cerebral palsy is making it difficult for him to stand or sit for extended periods, which affects how much he can work.

Unfortunately, his bills are mounting faster than his claim is being processed. He has received a denial of his initial claim and his reconsideration, and is not waiting for a hearing of his appeal.

The backlog for hearing appeals remains a significant problem for SSA. With all of the political dysfunction in Washington, it is unlikely that Congress will supply the Social Security Administration with the resources it needs to adequately address this backlog in the near future.

Even if they suddenly became generous and funded all of SSA’s needs, it would take years to hire sufficient staff to actually reduce the backlog.

Sadly, this causes real hardship to real people, as this young man is facing eviction. Your best means of avoiding this issue is obtaining legal assistance when putting together your initial claim. The stronger your initial application, the better your chances of being approved and not needing to appeal.

Source: wlos.com, “Reality Check: Social Security Disability Holdup,” Krystyna M. Biassou, September 3, 2015