Lehigh Valley

Bill aims to give $300 million to Social Security Administration to address wait times

Anyone who has had to deal with the Social Security Administration knows it's a process. The wait times just to get a hearing can take years.

Now Congress and one local lawmaker are trying to do something about it.

Raymond Mancini's wife Victoria, a long-time bus driver in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, developed Alzheimer's and lost her ability to work back in 2010.

She then filed for Social Security disability three years later but was denied. A judge said she wasn't sick enough.

"I know my wife and I know she has this problem but they're still putting us through the ringer," Raymond said.

The Mancinis appealed the ruling and won a year and a half ago.

Since then, Victoria can no longer speak and is under permanent care. She finally got a new hearing Wednesday but the judge didn't make a decision.

Seeing the burden the delays are causing for families like the Mancinis, Congresswoman Susan Wild went to bat for them, and with the help of 100 other co-signers, secured $300 million for the Social Security Administration in next year's budget.

It passed the house Wednesday afternoon, and it is now headed to the Senate.

"This funding increase represents the commitment to millions of Americans, retired workers and disabled workers and families of deceased workers who depend on Social Security to make ends meet and can't afford to wait years for a hearing so I hope that we will move on this expeditiously," Wild said.

Pa. Sen. Bob Casey​​​​​ said increased funding was needed for the Social Security Administration in a statement:

An increased investment in the Social Security Administration is an investment in older Americans and individuals with disabilities. This is why I have continuously called for increased funding so that the Social Security Administration gets the resources it needs to maintain essential services and keep field offices in Pennsylvania open, and I applaud Congresswoman Wild and the House on their work to do the same."

Some of the money will go directly toward hiring more people to help clear the backlog, and hopefully get people like Victoria the help she needs. 

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