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Nurse's Social Security disability claim typifies experience

The future and stability of the Social Security program has been the subject of many recent conversations and news headlines. In an era when federal lawmakers are discussing several options for budget cuts, it seems like the Social Security Administration may be impacted. However, one Pennsylvania woman's struggle with a disability shows the kind of support the SSD program can offer.

The woman, who was a nurse, unexpectedly was forced out of the workforce when she shattered the bones in her leg. She had been suffering from osteoporosis for years and didn't know it, which is why the break was so severe. After a lengthy recovery, the woman fell into financial hardship because the injury prevents her from working.

This hard-working woman determined that Social Security disability insurance was her best option. Now, she has the resources necessary to cover essential expenses, such as food and housing. She never anticipated applying for the program, but no one can truly prepare for the dramatic effects of a serious injury or illness.

If Congress does not address the forthcoming budget shortfalls within the SSA, benefits would have to be cut by nearly 20 percent in just three years. For individuals already struggling to make ends meet, losing a fifth of their overall income would likely be devastating.

Dealing with financial insecurity while living with a serious medical condition can create a great amount of stress. This is why it's critical to make sure that any benefits received truly match the needs of the individual who is applying for SSD.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Does Congress have the heart to avert disability crisis?" Michael Hiltzik, April 2, 2013

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