Eastern Iowa man pushing to expedite social security benefits
Just two months after finding out he had stage four lung cancer, Dean Lange applied for disability. The treatments forced him to quit his job in the trucking industry.
Lange says, "You get what they call chemotherapy brain. It's what the doctors actually call it. You get cloudy, you can't think, it's a vicious thing you know."
He got approved for Social Security Disability Insurance back in November, but he won't see a check until June. He says, "A lot can happen in that 5 months to people in my situation. A lot of people aren't gonna make that 5 months.”
The waiting period is by design, to make sure someone's disability is truly long-term and doesn't get better. Laura Seelau with RSH Legal says she does get complaints about the 5 month process, but it's not her client's biggest concern.
She says, "I think efforts are going to be more focused on getting cases resolved faster, as opposed to changing the dates as when somebody would be entitled to benefits if they ultimately are approved.”
Lange is calling on members of Congress to change the law so people with a terminal illness can get the benefits right away. He says the extra money would go a long way paying for medical bills. Lange says if cancer kills him, a bill passing to help others in his situation would be his dying wish.
He says, "A person that doesn't have a good support system in this case shouldn't very well spend his next 4 or 5 months on the planet wondering where his next meal is coming from."
Currently, no such legislation has been introduced to Congress about changing the law. We reached out to Congressman Rod Blum's Office about the possibility of changing the law. A spokesperson said they are researching the 5-month waiting period.