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SSA deemed patient fit to work after he already died from tumor

SSA deemed patient fit to work after he already died from tumor

| Oct 26, 2012 | Social Security Disability |

One would hope that if an individual is critically ill in New Jersey or elsewhere, he or she would not have difficulties obtaining crucial benefits. Unfortunately, the Social Security Disability process can feel like jumping through hoops at a time when an individual is likely least equipped to do so.

An out-of-state 23-year-old suffering with an insidious brain tumor that would make him vomit, induce intense headaches and lose sensation in his left side was awarded benefits, and then had them taken back. Then his benefits were reinstated, but then the Social Security Administration claimed he was being overpaid. Most recently, the SSA sent a letter to the 23-year-old’s house saying that they decided that his benefits would once again be terminated because SSA deemed him able to go back to work.

Imagine the horror of the young man’s mother upon opening this letter, just 12 days after the 23-year-old died. The mother was rightfully furious. The mother said, “We don’t know why they took it away. He was having seizures, and his whole left side was going paralyzed. He couldn’t work.” There is little by way of comfort that anyone can say to a parent that had to watch their child die an agonizing death. The least the child should be able to do in the end is rest without being plagued about worry over how they would pay their expenses.

According to the SSA, the agency is not notified when an individual dies, and they made their benefits-related decisions “based on the evidence they had on hand.” While this seems heartless and cruel, the fact of the matter is that the SSD process can be extremely confusing, and throughout the application process it is crucial that an individual provide all of the proper documentation to prove they are unable and will continue to be unable to work. An experienced legal attorney can greatly aid an individual in New Jersey in this pursuit to ensure they receive their due benefits.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Social Security should change how it deals with brain-tumor patients,” Lauren Ritchie, Oct. 24, 2012