An Indianapolis man has become the face of the wait for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in the community. The man has been featured in local media recently, shown panhandling to survive.

He said he has been forced to ask for help since it has been a year since he applied for disability – with no decision yet. He said he had heart surgery in April 2017, and in August of that year, he applied for disability. He has no income and still doesn’t know if he’ll ever be approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for monthly disability payments.

“You learn to survive out here,” the man told The Indy Channel. “I got to do something … Got to live; got to eat.”

According to SSA reports, there are 760,000 people across the country waiting to find out if they will receive disability pay.

The Indy Channel confirmed that the man applied for the federal benefits on August 8, 2017. But the station also learned by communicating with the SSA’s Chicago office that the average wait time in Indianapolis for disability applicants is 19 months.

In that case, this man still has six months to wait. He is one of 8,800 Indiana residents on the list.

In 2017, an SSA spokesperson told The Indy Channel, “The Social Security disability program is an important resource for people with disabilities, and we work tirelessly every day to provide the best service possible. We acknowledge that current average processing times for disability appeal hearings are high nationally, around 560 days, and we are working to address the issue.”

This man’s medical condition very likely is one that qualifies him for SSD payments. Anyone facing a similar situation should contact an Indiana attorney with experience in such cases to make sure all proper procedures have been followed. With such a long wait, no one wants to find out their case has been thrown out based on a technicality.