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Social Security Disability

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Disability benefits can require a great deal of work to obtain

A great number of illnesses and medical conditions can leave an individual disabled. A stroke can partially paralyze one side of a body, lung cancer can limit the amount of physical activity one is capable of and back injuries can make it impossible to lift significant weight or remain on one’s feet for long hours.

While an individual condition, injury or illness can be disabling, in many cases, some individuals have the misfortune of suffering additional conditions that can combine to leave one fully disabled. For disability programs, such as Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or disability compensation from the Veterans Affairs department, it can be a struggle to obtain the benefits without the help of an attorney.

A case in point involves a veteran from Georgia, who spent 40 years attempting to obtain his disability benefits from the VA. He says he began the fight in 1973, and his claim file has 100 pages of evidence describing his medically disabling conditions.

Among his many medical problems, he describes how he has “suffered two strokes, needed a right knee replacement and developed an incurable skin rash and rectal tear that has compromised his quality of life.”

His claims may have been hampered by the VA claims backlog. The agency has long had problems processing veterans’ disability claims, with the backlog at one point last year topping more than 600,000.

While that has been reduced, the veteran noted that the response he received from the VA improved once he obtained the services of an attorney. With the help of his attorney, he was finally able to receive the full disability benefit, based on the combination of his medical conditions.

Source: Stars and Stripes, “After 40 year-fight with VA, Ga. veteran finally got disability,” Wesley Brown, The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, May 31, 2014

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