Do Disability Benefits Help the Homeless Enough?

Disability benefits help millions of disabled Americans who are unable to work, but it turns out that they may not be doing all that they can. The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (“NLCHP”) spent several months reviewing the numbers behind homeless Americans and their access to disability benefits and healthcare. The disability benefits system, at least the way it functions now, may actually be hindering the improvement of the lives of homeless Americans, the NLCHP found.

The problem is that homeless Americans have trouble getting SSI or SSDI benefits in the first place. The NLCHP found that up to 40 percent of them are able to apply for such benefits, but only 14 percent of them actually end up receiving them, and access to healthcare may be the reason why. At homeless shelters, most of the medical staff is non-doctors – nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants. Their medical diagnoses are typically insufficient for Social Security to award an applicant disability benefits. More details on what conditions potentially qualify for disability benefits are available from a Tulsa Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney.

This is an area of reform that is win-win for both Social Security disability’s critics and its proponents. Improving the ability of the homeless to receive disability benefits helps them out of their troubles. They are able to transition into housing and receive other kinds of support like medical or vocational. This reduces costs down the line, because, according to the NLCHP research, homeless Americans who go into supportive housing have 77 percent fewer inpatient hospitalizations and 62 percent fewer trips to the emergency room than those who do not. With improved access to disability benefits, homeless Americans would spend less time waiting while their conditions worsen. The waiting usually results in a costly trip to the emergency room, which increases costs for everyone.

Do you have experience with the disability benefits application process? What hurdles did you face?

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys

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