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Vocational Rehabilitation pitfalls and appeals

Something most people with disabilities know is that, while resources are available, it's a long and cumbersome trail before you have access to them. For folks who are seeking help, a longer wait means even more discomfort and stress. For example, the average wait time to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is almost 20 months.

Life doesn't go on hold while waiting for that assistance, which is why individuals with disabilities need advocates to help them through the process as quickly and fairly as possible. Getting an education and a job that pays living wages is an essential step toward independence and financial freedom. Unfortunately, it's easier said than done.

Vocational Rehabilitation

The Vocational Rehabilitation program, which helps people with disabilities enroll in college and job training programs, is unable to keep up with demand. According to an article in The Hechinger Report, over 800,000 people eligible for assistance didn't receive any because of understaffing and other office inadequacies between 2010-2014. In the nationwide program, many states had over 40 percent of eligible enrollees receiving no benefits. There are waiting lists to enter the program, then a longer wait for follow-up. Enrollment in college or starting a new job requires timely action and the agency isn't delivering.

Appeals and assistance

As you likely know from working with SSD and other agencies, it's common to deny on first application even if you deserve their assistance. While the organization is there to help, they're overwhelmed with demands and need an extra push that a disability-focused attorney can provide.

In The Hechinger Report article mentioned earlier, there are several examples of long delays but also successful appeals and reimbursement. Expressed by their mission statement to enhance independence, Vocational Rehabilitation knows you're capable of achieving a lot. Showing your resolve through the appeal process is one way to put your fortitude on display. While no eligible applicant should be denied, fighting through the unfair bureaucracy only makes you stronger.

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