The other day I had an appointment with a vocational rehabilitation counselor. It was a great opportunity to get more insight into aspects of the disability safety net. One of the big revelations was, oddly, about my application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
The counselor told me that most of the time the first application barely gets anyone's attention. Nearly every applicant is turned down. I was told that someone would probably look at my application, see I was relatively young and educated, and immediately reject the application. Apparently it's not until the second or third appeal that an application is seriously reviewed with a consideration to the medical condition of the applicant.
A famous example of this occured in the 1980s when Barney Clark, the recipient of the first artificial heart, applied for SSDI. While he was lying in his hospital bed on a life support machine awaiting his history-making operation, his application for benefits was denied because, in the judgment of the Administration, he was capable of returning to work. He was a dentist.
It took a phone call from then-President Reagan to get Social Security to approve Clark's application.
Hopefully it won't come to it but if anyone out there knows a former President...