Stephanie Hashmi was in her mid 20’s when she got her dream job. She was promoted to be a charge nurse in one of Kansas City’s largest ICU’s. Shortly after beginning her new job she began to notice something off. She began feeling tired and sick and her joints were constantly aching. Shortly after she was diagnosed with Lupus.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes your body’s immune system to attack your tissues and organs. After multiple surgeries and treatments Stephanie is now often bedridden because of her disabilities. Her condition made it impossible to continue working and 6 years ago Stephanie had to quit her dream job and file for disability. She was shocked when she received her denial.
“I just started bawling. Because I felt like, if they looked at my records or read these notes, surely they would understand my situation,” Hashmi says.
Unfortunately, cases like Sarah’s are all too common. Currently only about 45% of applicants that apply for Social Security Disability benefits are denied and the average time it takes to get a hearing is almost 600 days. Unfortunately the problem is only getting worse.
The huge back log Social Security is currently facing can be traced back to the recession from a decade ago. When the recession hit, those who were disabled but still working were the first to lose their jobs which mean there was a large influx of people applying for disability benefits. Social Security has not been able to catch up since.
Unfortunately, in an effort to reduce fraud Social Security passed a new rule regarding the weight given to primary care physicians. Often Social Security will send it’s applicants to one of their physicians that do a quick assessment of the applicant and their disabilities. In the past the judges would rely most heavily on the opinions of the applicants treating physicians but now they are no longer allowed to do that. This means that the opinion of a doctor who had only spent an hour with the applicant will be given the same weight as the doctor who has seen them weekly for the past five years.
As you can imagine this causes all kinds of problems. For many conditions you have good days and bad days and one brief visit cannot get a clear picture of what is going on overall. This is causing for more denials in the early stages which makes the backlog for hearings even longer.
In Stephanie Hashmi’s case, her battle for benefits has lasted 6 years. Luckily she does now have a hearing scheduled, however it is not until November of 2018.
Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer
Applying for disability benefits is now trickier than ever. Having an experienced Utah Disability Attorney on your side can greatly improve your chances of being approved and can help you get approved quicker. For your free consultation call our office today.