Monday, November 30, 2015

Long Wait Times Prompt Lawsuit in Miami

Disabled claimants are tired of waiting.  In Connecticut and Massachusetts it takes an average of 12 to 14 months to see a judge once a hearing has been requested. 
Its a long time and its not fair to make some of our most vulnerable citizens go through such an ordeal. 
If you think that Connecticut and Massachusetts wait times are bad, take a look at Miami.  In the Sun City, the average wait for a hearing is 22 months!  This situation has prompted the Miami Law School Legal Clinic to file a lawsuit on behalf of 12 indigent and disabled individuals who have been waiting as long as 26 months to get a hearing before an administrative law judge. 
"The delay defeats the Social Security’s purpose of helping to keep people from poverty, and, in the case our clients, has the harshest impact on the poorest population. Miami has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, which makes the extreme delay in Miami that much more unfair,” said JoNel Newman, Director of the Miami Law Health Rights Clinic.
It is not clear what result this legal action will have, however it is clear that it already has had the effect of bringing awareness regarding some of the injustices in the Social Security Disability system. At least two New England newspapers, the Boston Globe and the Portland Press Herald, have covered the news story.  Moreover, since Florida is such an important state in the upcoming Presidential election, the issues raised by the lawsuit hopefully will be brought up during debates concerning Social Security. 

There are other cities in which waits are almost as bad as Miami.  Brooklyn, N.Y., Spokane, Wash., Fort Myers, Fla, and Milwaukee have a 20-month wait time.  Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati, Baltimore and Chattnooga, Tenn. have a 19 month wait.