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Proposed federal cuts target Social Security Disability program

It's no secret that submitting an application to receive Social Security Disability benefits can be pain-staking. This is why it's not uncommon for applicants to receive denials of benefits, even in cases where they clearly qualify for benefits. Unfortunately, the U.S. Congress is considering cutting a program that benefits SSD applicants in Trenton, Michigan, and throughout the country.

Funds for a federal program that sponsors Social Security Disability Insurance advocates to work throughout the country will expire on June 30 if the funding is not reauthorized. These individuals help their local communities by helping SSDI applicants correctly fill out application materials, in order to increase the chances of a successful claim and cut down the time between applying and receiving payments. In addition, they help people get connected with beneficial work incentive programs.

This advocacy program helped one particular man turn his life around. Until the man was connected with a Social Security advocate, he was living alone in a storage shed in desperate need of assistance. Within three weeks of working with his advocate, he found help to cut through the "bureaucratic red tape" at the Social Security Administration to receive benefits. He also became part of a federal work incentive program that helps the man keep a roof over his head.

According to one Social Security advocate, she works with over 150 people and helps them receive benefits and find work opportunities. If the funds are not reauthorized, this woman would lose her job and many people could be without the resources they need to continue working and maintain the benefits they need in order to stay healthy. The advocates also help to dispel the notion that individuals lose their benefits if they return to the workforce, which is a common concern among recipients.

Even without considering the possibility of funding cuts to federal programs, navigating the complexities of Social Security benefits and work incentive programs. Knowing this, it can be very important for individuals living with an illness or disability to seek out some type of advocate that can honestly and clearly explain their rights and connect them with the programs they need to thrive.

Source: The Daily Courier, "Congressional reauthorization in doubt for program that benefits disabled people," Ken Hedler, April 8, 2012

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