WASHINGTON - The government says Vernon Lamirand, even with one eye, can find a job and doesn’t need to be on disability.
Lamirand disagrees. The pain where his left eye was surgically removed is so intense, he says, that he can do little else sometimes than lay down for a couple of hours with his good eye closed.
On the worst days, said Lamirand, of Norman, Oklahoma, “my life is sort of lived in two-hour increments.”
But in what a Social Security Administration official acknowledged this week as a "crisis," the number of people who were denied disability benefits and are waiting for the agency to hear their appeals has grown to 1.1 million.
The process makes a difference. Administrative judges last year ruled in about half the cases that applicants were indeed too disabled to work.