Ewart Solomon was living and working in California in the early 90’s. He came back to Indianapolis for the holidays in 1993 and borrowed a friend’s vehicle. Due to bad brakes, he was in an automobile crash.
“I became legally blind,” said Solomon.
Due to this disability, Solomon could no longer work. He then applied for Social Security and was granted.
He waited the standard five months and by the end he received his Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Curious about how the Social Security system works, Solomon took it upon himself to learn more about the process. Along the way Solomon realized there was a lot he didn’t know.
“There was a lot of red tape in the process,” said Solomon.
Learning the steps one should take when applying for SSDI, Solomon became aware that unlike him, most people who apply for SSDI do not have a process as smooth as his. He figured if more information was available, other applicants could look forward to a smooth process as well.
After completing rehabilitation, he took action. He began working again and advocating for himself and others with disabilities and applying for social security.
For those individuals, who are denied Social Security benefits or are not sure of the proper steps in the appeal process, Solomon wanted to create a place where they can go to get the help they need. Therefore he founded a company called Benefit Specialists Associates (BSA).
“We provide the representation for those people who have been denied social security benefits,” said Solomon.
BSA is an organization devoted to serving the needs of persons with disabilities. Its mission is to serve clientele by helping them understand their qualified benefits and navigate through the appropriate system. By listening and counseling BSA and their clients design the appropriate course of action.
“We prefer to take the personal approach,” said Solomon. “We want our clients to be secure.”
This year, the state of Indiana acquired 62,644 new claims for SSDI. Only 58,347 were processed and 64.8 percent were denied. The number of appeal requests processed is 17,439 and 93 percent were denied.
Those who have been denied can appeal for Social Security benefits. Chicago regional communications director of social security, Carmen M. Moreno, says applicants have the right to appeal within 60 days from the date they were denied.
“The first level of reconsideration takes up to three or four months,” said Moreno. “Because the applicants have to gather medical information.”
A reason an applicant may be denied Social Security is because their condition may not necessarily be a disability. Moreno says a disability is a severe condition that would prevent someone from working for 12 months or results in death. Certain disabilities could include blindness or paralyzation.
“The definition is strict,” said Moreno. “But that is the definition that was set by law.”
For Solomon the problem is not everyone with a disability receives SSDI and it may be essential. It may be their only source of income.
In partnership with Solomon is his wife Dawn, who also had a rough time when she applied for SSDI. She also became legally blind in the late 80’s due to an automobile crash.
The Solomons created a “helping hand” for those who reach out and take it. Both are certified through the state as non-attorney representatives and members of the Better Business Bureau. BSA works hard to give clients what they need as they extend their hand to everyone with any sort of disability.
“We will do the best job we can to provide any kind of information they might need,” said Solomon.