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Customer service is not a bright spot for SSDI system


When a person is injured or ill and unable to work for a long period of time, Social Security disability can be an option to help them pay their living expenses. For some people, however, figuring out the requirements for SSD benefits, and navigating through the application process, can be overwhelming.

People who have questions about SSD benefits might first try the Social Security Administration's customer service representatives for help. But this can also be a frustrating experience. A recent mishap by the SSA is just one example of the organization's many shortcomings when it comes to helping applicants and existing beneficiaries with their questions and concerns.

The recent problem related to the SSA's website. The SSA implemented a new security feature to its website that required all customers to receive a coded text message to confirm their identity when trying to log on to their customer account. Although this step did aim to benefit customers by making their information more secure, it caused some major concerns. Most notably, many older customers who have accounts do not use text messaging, and thus would be unable to log on to their SSA account.

This oversight is just part of a larger problem with the SSA, which is that budget cuts in recent years have left the SSA with fewer resources to service people who need help. For example, a backlog of more than one million applications for SSD benefits are waiting to be processed.

People in Houston who are unable to work because of sickness or injury need to know whether they can count on getting disability benefits, regardless of whether the SSA has customer service problems. Additionally, these disabled individuals should not be discouraged by the program's faults, as real financial relief may be available to those who are well-prepared and persistent. Current beneficiaries, or new applicants, can turn to an attorney who has experience with the SSDI system if they need help with their SSD benefits.

Source: Time, "Why Forcing People to Text to Log Onto Their Social Security Account Was a Mistake," Mark Miller, Aug. 18, 2016

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