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Harsh Impact of Social Security Delays for People With Disabilities: United Spinal Association's Peggy Hathaway Testifies Before Congress
Date:3/26/2009

WASHINGTON, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Peggy Hathaway, United Spinal Association's vice president for Public Policy, detailed before a joint House Ways and Means Subcommittee this week, the alarming plight of more than 1.3 million Americans with disabilities waiting for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to decide if they meet the eligibility criteria while lives unravel, families are torn apart, homes are lost, medical conditions get worse, and many individuals die.

In her testimony, Ms. Hathaway, underscored the human toll created by the prolonged delays when people apply to Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits. If someone is denied at the first level, the average waiting time for an appeal is approximately 500 days. In some offices it is much worse. Ms. Hathaway and other witnesses said the main reason for the delays is that, until very recently, SSA has been persistently under-funded for many years.

She thanked Congress for new money for SSA in the economic stimulus bill and for the current fiscal year and urged Congress to support the President's budget for SSA for this coming year.

Ms. Hathaway represented the Social Security Task Force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a coalition of over 100 national disability groups, at the March 24th joint hearing of the Social Security and the Income Security and Family Support Subcommittees.

She met with Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens NY) prior to testifying before Congress and her testimony listed CCD's recommendations to solve SSA's disability backlog. See Hathaway's full testimony at http://tinyurl.com/d99mt4.

About United Spinal Association

United Spinal is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post polio. It has played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with spinal cord disorders.

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