Augusta, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – For those looking for disability benefits, it’s like a lottery ticket.
Here in Georgia, the battle for access to federal disability benefits has escalated, with some people waiting more than two years for relief.
Carissa Griffin is a cancer survivor who waited over three years for the help she needed.
“I didn’t know there was this much. It’s a bunch,” said Griffin, a federal disability applicant.
3 years worth of paperwork. It’s hard to imagine waiting that long for an answer, but Griffin can.
“I found myself a little sick. I thought something was wrong,” she said.
Her intuition was correct. In 2019, she found out she had cancer.
“After the radiation, I started having problems on my left side. As a result, I had lymphedema in my arm, but I didn’t feel it at all,” she said.
Her condition eventually forced her to quit her job.
“I didn’t have a lot of money. I had to ask my mother to help me and my brothers,” she said.
She applied for a disability pension.
“It probably took a year or so to let me know something the first time. It shouldn’t have taken that long,” she said.
After two more years with the help of her lawyers, she was still rejected.
“It shouldn’t have taken that long,” she said.
Nearly 80% of reconsideration requests are denied in Georgia, according to the Disability Benefits Center.
“If you really, really know you need it and really want it, you need it and you deserve it, keep going. Keep pushing. Keep trying. Don’t quit,” she said.
Griffin didn’t stop and left her family with all the credit.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), to be eligible for benefits, you must be in a Social Security-eligible job and have a medical condition that meets the SSA definition of disability.
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