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World Series winner: Trying to get SSD benefits has been tougher

Whether you’re a baseball fan or not — and whether or not you love the Yankees — Brian Doyle’s story stands out. When the 1978 World Series began, Doyle was a reserve second baseman. When the team’s first stringer got injured, though, Doyle rose to the occasion spectacularly. He hit a .438 in the series, which the Yankees won in just six games.

After the 1978 World Series Doyle was a hero, but that doesn’t mean his life has been easy. In the 1990s, Doyle beat leukemia. Unfortunately, his family suspects that the chemotherapy drug that saved his life also caused the joint deterioration and bone problems that still cause him pain, despite two neck-fusion surgeries.

Doyle, now 61, first applied for Social Security disability benefits in 2013. He had already been turned down twice when his next challenge arose: Parkinson’s disease.

Doyle now waits on an appeal of his claim that he is too disabled to work. Meanwhile, despite his wife’s full-time job, friends and family have to help them pay their mortgage.

In Georgia, where Doyle and his wife live, the wait time just for initial processing of an SSD claim is 503 days — more than a year and four months, according to the Georgia Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. In Ohio, that initial processing delay is only slightly shorter, at 472. Getting a hearing before an administrative law judge in Georgia takes an average of 14.7 months; in Ohio that’s 13.9 months.

He’s a World Series hero. He’s cancer survivor, albeit with deteriorating bones and joints. His hands shake from the incurable, progressive disease of the nervous system, and he already can’t drive. His impairments are severe and will only get worse. Yet at this rate, it’s conceivable he could become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits before he gets an SSDI hearing.

“We are, by the grace of God, getting groceries on the table,” Doyle’s wife told reporters. “There’s probably folks out there that aren’t. If this helps them, that’s why we’re here.”

That’s why we’re here, too.

Source:, “It’s easier to win a World Series than get Social Security disability,” Randy Travis, March 12, 2015

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