A Naval vet from Iowa exemplifies the troubles of disabled Americans seeking disability benefits. Jon Murphy graduated from the prestigious United States Naval Academy in 1987. Unable to receive benefits through either SSDI or state disability programs, Murphy recently became homeless. His problems are familiar to many veterans who have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.
First, the disability benefits process can be overwhelming for even the toughest men and women in our armed forces. In Murphy’s case, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) did not ultimately approve his application. Even for veterans who do eventually receive benefits, the wait is typically about two years; for veterans without other means of support, the wait time often ends up making a bad situation worse.
Another problem faced by our nation’s veterans is insufficient medical examinations, a problem we discussed Monday that could arise with anyone applying for disability benefits. Sometimes doctors and other medical professionals just do not do a thorough enough job when examining disabled patients. Murphy, for example, has complained of not receiving adequate neurological exams at his local veterans’ hospital. Without complete information, the SSA has no choice but to deny applications, thereby prolonging the process for applicants.
In addition to the processing delays from the SSA, veterans also face delays from the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”). More than 100,000 servicemembers have deployed each year for almost a decade now. Their return stateside has created backlogs for federal agencies and veterans’ programs. The VA has struggled to hire enough staff to keep up with the veterans who suffer disabilities in combat zones. In the past five years, though, it has hired 10,000 new staff members to better process claims.
Are you a veteran who has suffered a disability that prevents you from working? Contact one of our Tulsa SSI disability attorneys to learn more about applying for SSI or SSDI benefits.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers