It's no secret that applying for disability benefits can be a long and difficult process. Many people spend months and years waiting for decisions and appeals. This wait comes at what is often a very stressful and financially difficult time in people's lives; a time where they can no longer work and they are counting on receiving money from SSD benefits just to make ends meet. The problem is that in addition to the delays and lengthy wait times, the process of applying for SSD benefits can also be very costly for these individuals who are already in dire financial situations.
A recent article looked at the story of a 62-year-old Honolulu man who was suffering from debilitating Alzheimer's and could no longer work as a mason. With him out of work, money was getting very tight and the family was counting on him receiving SSD benefits. With the help of his lawyer, this man worked diligently to gather evidence and documents to support his claim. In an effort to show that his Alzheimer's had begun to show signs as early as 2015, he and his lawyer drafted up a one page, two question document for his doctor to fill out. The surprise came when the doctor sent a bill for $350 just to fill out this single document.
When it is common for workers who are out of work due to disease or injury to wait up to two years before seeing any money from Social Security, receiving these types of bills during the application process can be crushing. These individuals are suffering from significant diseases or injuries and many are already or are on the verge of homelessness, unable to work while they wait for SSD claims to be processed. Facing fees like this as necessary costs for their SSD application may make the process even more prohibitive for many people.
Although this may not be the norm for all medical providers, cases like this are springing up, particularly when requests get routed through the medical provider's legal department. Applying for SSD benefits should be as quick and painless as possible, without placing already vulnerable individuals in tremendous financial peril.
Source: Civilbeat.org, Adding to this Patient's Pain - a $350 Bill for Paperwork, John Hill, May 8, 2018