Man Fighting Illness Also Fights For Disability Insurance - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/22/06-Tyler

Man Fighting Illness Also Fights For Disability Insurance

The process of getting Social Security Disability Benefits can take years, leaving many without the help they need, and quite possibly deserve.

Kltv 7's Lindsay Wilcox explains the process through the eyes of an East Texan, who can only sit and wait for an answer.

For for more than 25 years, Richard Beasely owned his own construction company. In 2000, he was diagnosed with six diseases, which forced him to quit.

"They said that any strenuous work, physical stress or mental stress would only exacerbate the whole chain of events," Beasely said.

He looked to Social Security Disability Insurance to get back on his feet.

Richard filed his initial claim in 2001 with his local Social Security Office. Then, he waited six months for a hearing where that claim was denied.  He appealed the decision in 2002 to an Administrative Law Judge, waited another year for another hearing only to be told no, again.

He made a last ditch effort in 2004 to the Social Security Council of Appeals in Washington.

This remand letter from them states he has severe impairments, and orders the Administrative Law Judge to give him a new hearing. He still has no answer.

"This whole process just drains you, because you don't know if you're waiting for a yes. You don't know if you're waiting for a no," Beasley said.

Richard's lawyer, Buddy Rogers, says there's no accountability in the system to make judges promptly set hearings and issue decisions. He says people trying to get through the system need to get lawyers.

"The lawyer is not paid unless they successfully get benefits for these people. Then it's paid through the system," Beasley said.

Richard has been canceling doctors appointments for several months, and relies on samples for his medication. He says if a decision doesn't come soon, he will have to put his home up for sale.

"I don't know how that could be, but we have to survive," Beasley said.

The lawyer we spoke with said there is hope, for those tenacious enough to fight the system. One of his clients was finally awarded benefits after 7 years. We're told the paperwork proving he was eligible for those benefits, had been in his file since day one.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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