The proposed 2018 federal budget that the President is sending to Congress cuts the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services by 12.6%, amounting to $16 billion. These budget cuts are likely to cause further downsizing of staff at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, where disability cases are heard, and the field offices of the Social Security Administration. With fewer people to work up the files, and assist the judges in preparing the cases, hearing delays are likely to worsen.

At present, in Greenville, SC, the waiting time between requesting a hearing and getting one is about 22 months. A hearing is requested after about eight months of administrative review below. After the case is heard, Claimants wait for months to see their decision. After the decision is made, they wait for weeks to see their money. The entire process normally takes just shy of three years.

These cuts in the federal budget are causing people to lose their homes, lose their cars, and decline in health, while they wait for Medicaid and Medicare coverage. Some die. It is important for your representatives in Congress to know that the level of service provided by the Social Security Administration is important, and affects the quality of life for ordinary Americans. Please let your House Rep and Senators know that funding the Department of Health and Human Services is an important priority for you. In upstate South Carolina, we are represented by Trey Gowdy in the House; and Senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham.

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