September 3, 2009, - 11:13 am

Another Great ObamaCare Preview

By Debbie Schlussel

Yes, Barack Obama and his ObamaCare minions declared surrender on the “public option” portion of their proposed mammoth nationalized healthcare.  But that changes little about this impending disaster.  The bottom  line is that it’s a government program, which will be run by public bureaucrats.


You know, the same government bureaucrats who are doing this:

Todd Lindberg has lived for a year and a half in a storage garage in northwest Des Moines. He sleeps on a well-worn couch in a dark corner of the building, amid construction equipment, tools and snowmobiles.

With most of one foot amputated and part of the other missing, he qualifies for federal disability benefits that would pay for an apartment and groceries.

But getting those benefits is not easy.

A massive backlog of unresolved disability claims at the Social Security Administration has kept Lindberg and millions of others waiting years for benefits they earned while in the work force. The delays have led to splintered families, foreclosed homes and suicides.

Last year, a 49-year-old Missouri truck driver died in the lobby of a Social Security office while waiting to be called into the office for a hearing on his three-year-old claim for benefits.

During the past year, the number of people waiting to have their claims processed has increased more than 30 percent, from 556,000 to more than 736,000. The head of the Social Security Administration, Michael Astrue, has acknowledged that the situation might soon get worse. The agency is “moving backwards” in its efforts to keep pace with a recession-driven influx of new claims, he said.

Nationally, applicants for benefits are waiting an average of 505 days to bring their cases before a Social Security judge for a hearing. In Iowa, the wait is slightly longer: 541 days. . . .

After being diagnosed with diabetes, Lindberg lost his job as a truck driver. His medical problems began to mount. Doctors had to amputate most of his left foot, then parts of his right foot. Now 40, Lindberg has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, blood infections and chronic digestive issues that have left him virtually unemployable.

Yet it took two and a half years for a judge to approve his application for federal disability benefits. And that was after U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin intervened to expedite his case – help that many disabled Americans don’t get.

Last month, an administrative law judge who works for the Social Security Administration awarded Lindberg benefits of $1,189 monthly. He won’t receive his first check for a few more weeks, which is why he still lives in his friend’s storage garage.

“I showed the judge the pictures of my feet and all of my amputations,” Lindberg said. “The judge said, ‘I don’t know why this wasn’t approved before. We should have approved this back in 2008.’ ” . . .

Federal officials now estimate they’ll receive 3.3 million new disability claims this year. That’s 300,000 more claims than last year and 13 percent more than was expected.

The Social Security Administration is hiring and training hundreds of additional judges and support staff, and it hopes to have the backlog under control by 2013.

Todd Lindberg’s case is just one of the horror stories that occurs in Iowa alone when the government is in the healthcare biz.

And this is how the government performs with only 3.3 million claims. Do we really want to see what happens when 300 million Americans need healthcare?

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12 Responses


Bob Porrazzo on September 3, 2009 at 11:22 am

I believe that the Social Security benefits will be backdated to the date of the original claim. I may be wrong but that is what I was told by a relative who received the disability payments for serious heart disease and kidney ailments. She waited for a year but was approved and was never had to re-apply.

Sewsalot on September 3, 2009 at 11:58 am

A friend of mine passed this over to me just this morning, I don’t know who should get the credit, but I like it.
OBAMA = One Bad Ass Mistake America.

Rocky on September 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Don’t worry about this. The Obama-Messiah will cure all of your ailments. Just go home and take some pain pills. If you want, they also have a death inducing drug so that you will not be a burden on your families or society if the cost of your care is too high.

Jarhead on September 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I am receiving benefits. It wasn’t easy. You MUST get an attorney BEFORE you even file. S/he will guide you thru the process because you WILL be turned down the first time or two. it took me a while to get an honest lawyer. I had one tell me to divorce my husband so I would receive more as a single woman. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job. It doesn’t cost anything to hire a Social Security Lawyer and s/he will only get paid if you collect. Don’t make it harder on yourselves. The system is disgusting but this is the way to deal with it. Once I found the right attorney, it took about 6 mos.

M: Will everyone need to hire “the right attorney” to get healthcare under ObamaCare? DS

MK750 on September 3, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Also, why should someone have to hire an attorney to receive an entitlement? The man discussed in this case was not some street person going on the dole, but a very legitimate case.

    sorrow01 on September 4, 2009 at 12:45 am

Isn’t this what healthcare reform is supposed to fix? Wasn’t that one of the reasons?

Nakruh on September 3, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Nakruh – you are correct that we need to change some things in our health care system, but a total revamp with the government in control is the worst thing that can happen. Just imagine the above story multiplied by 100 million. The government can’t run anything effectively. The government can’t even wipe its own a$$ without two hands and a map. When government runs anything, it turns into a disaster. I trust the government about as far as I can throw an Abrams tank.

    Jarhead on September 5, 2009 at 1:41 pm

You have to hire the right attorney now for children with special needs to get the therapy and treatment services they are entitled to in public schools. If the govt is involved in it, it is rationed.

FeFe on September 5, 2009 at 1:52 am

I work for SSA disability and this story is sadly true. I can only imagine what health care will be like for 300 mil people and we cannot even administer the disability program! Not only that who you get to process your “claim” is the luck of the draw. Unfortunately not all SSA workers are competent or caring, resulting in bad disability decisions and lengthy processing delays. It is extremely unpopular to say these things and the administration will not admit they have hundreds on the payroll that they cannot discipline/make better employees.

pattycake on September 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

todd lindberg is my dad he shouldnt of had to wait that long to get on social security!

marissa on May 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Before everyone jumps on the bandwagon here, the number of people getting social security disability has jumped from 2 million to 11 million in just 20 years, and the number are still skyrocketing. Doctors who deny SSD benefits are overridden by bureaucrats with high school diplomas. People who claim they have “anxiety” are getting SSD even though they manage to drive in NYC. Others get SSD are somehow to disabled to work, but not so disabled that they can’t shoplift or rob.

Other parents are now getting their children classified as learning diabled so they can get a check.

Yes, there are people who truly are disabled who need a check. Those who are severely retarded, those missing two arms, etc.

However, all too many are failing to try to overcome disabilities or disappointments because they would rather rely on the government.

I had ulcerative colitis for 27 years!! Real bad, too. I had colorectal cancer, multiple surgeries, etc. I still worked in the hospital the day after most of my guts were yanked out.

Why should morbidly obese people who get diabetes or can’t work be able to collect SSD? A seventh helping of mashed potatoes should not qualify you for SSD.

I knew a diabetic who drank, crashed into someone’s car, and now gets SSD, which does not keep him off the golf course.

The same is true with many disabled vets. Some are in real bad shape, but many are working and collecting 100% disability. Some who are not working but getting 100% disability could be working.

Uncle Sam, I cut my finger. Can I get a monthly check?

I am not referring to Mr. Lindberg. I do not know his case. However, I have known many others through my work as an attorney, and I have little or no sympathy for many of the people on SSD because so many are frauds.

Jonathan Grant on October 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm

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