KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- People have been dealing with long lines since the beginning of the pandemic, from waiting in lines at the store to waiting on the phone for unemployment.

For people seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) that wait can be nearly 150 days.

As we see coronavirus cases spiking as we enter the colder months, many who were diagnosed with COVID-19 months ago are still struggling with symptoms of the virus.

“They include things like lung damage, heart inflammation, fatigue; those are the primary ones. We’ve had one claimant that we represent who ended up with kidney damage and on dialysis,” said T.J. Geist, director of claims at Allsup.

For some, the symptoms persist which prevents them from working or looking for employment. Those in that situation can apply for SSDI, but the wait time is lengthy.

Geist, who has been working in the industry for 18 years, says there has always been a backlog, but with the uptick in new COVID-19 cases, applicants can expect an additional 20 to 30 days wait time.

Another concern is that nearly two thirds of workers who apply for disability are denied the first time.

Geist suggests having an expert who is familiar with the program help guide you through the applications saying that studies show applicants using an attorney or representative have much better outcomes than those who chose to represent themselves.

Much like doing your taxes, you hire an accountant or use a tax planning software. Using an expert or disability representative can make the process smoother and more efficient so the benefits can arrive sooner. Finding representation is as easy as a google search, but as with all things online, make sure you do your due diligence and research firms or individuals online before you pay money or sign a contract.

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