I recently had the opportunity to represent a veteran applying for social security disability who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan in a bomb squad. In addition to some physical injuries, he suffered profound post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that impacted him personally and his family. He didn’t apply for social security benefits for almost four years after he was discharged from the Army due to his physical and emotional illnesses.
During his hearing, the Judge asked him why he did not apply sooner, and my client advised him that he was ashamed to pursue benefits. He said that it’s hard enough coming back after serving and having a psychiatric condition that many don’t believe and that no one can see. He was hesitant to be one of the “dregs” taking handouts.
I hope your reaction to this is the same as mine – shame, embarrassment, and sorrow for this man. I am thrilled to say that I was successful in getting him accepted for social security benefits, but after the hearing, I also made sure that he knew the truth. I reminded him that the government withheld money from his paycheck to pay for the future possibility he was unable to work. It was like an insurance premium. He was not taking a handout; he paid for it years before.
It is easy to judge people from a distance, but remember that each person who is getting disability has his or her own story, his or her own injury or medical condition, and his or her own need for help. If you are not able to work due to an illness or medical condition, call an attorney at Michles & Booth today for a free consultation.