Many West Virginia residents apply for Social Security benefits when they find that they are no longer able to work due to a disability. Across the country, the rising costs of owning or renting a home are outpacing the government benefits received by disabled individuals.
The average Social Security disability monthly payment is only $763 while, on average, a small studio apartment rent payment would cost nearly that entire amount. In some states with higher rent, disabled individuals would not even be able to afford a rental payment.
In 2016, about 4.8 million adults received disability payments. About 87,000 disability recipients were homeless and another 200,000 to 300,000 were living in institutions such as nursing homes. Another 870,000 individuals were residing with caregivers over the age of 65.
Disability advocates are pushing for reforms as the housing crisis among disabled individuals is costly for taxpayers when disabled individuals are forced to become homeless or live in institutions. The problem is worse in some areas than others but is faced by disability recipients everywhere.
Applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits can seem intimidating, especially when the applicant has no choice but to apply yet is denied disability benefits after their first application. A person who has been denied benefits might benefit by consulting an attorney about requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge.
An attorney may be able to assist applicants with the process in several ways. In the initial application, it is important for applicants to list pain symptoms because pain is a factor that must be considered by the Social Security Administration on a disability application. Many applicants who were initially denied disability may receive it after they have gone through the hearing process. At a hearing, an attorney will have an opportunity to present testimony from the applicant and cross-examine government expert witnesses, such as vocational experts.