Medical benefits reinstated after Dickinson man with dwarfism turns to Ted

Monday, October 7, 2019
Medical benefits reinstated for man with dwarfism
A 21-year-old man lost his social security disability payments for more than a year. Turn to Ted asked Social Security to just take a look.

DICKINSON (KTRK) -- The short walk to the mail box is about all Joseph Palm can manage before he says the pain gets too much. He was born with Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.

"If I'm not sitting up straight or if I'm not like an angle like this, it starts twitching or not, not just twitching, but constant pain in the lower region," Palm told 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg.

Palm, 21, lost his social security disability payments for more than a year, but when he tried to get it back, he tells us the social security office wouldn't even take his call.

Palm says social security considered him disabled from birth. The benefits helped pay for surgeries on his spine, stomach, ankles and more, but the agency requires a new certification when you're 18.

Palm got a medical check by a Social Security-designated doctor.

But, when it came time for the next step, a hearing regarding his benefits, Palm said he never got the letter to show up.

Missing it, he said, put him at the bottom of the list and social security cut him off, so he tried to ask about it.

"We just could never get ahold of it and there was no number," Palm said. "It has gotten to the point where that's all (that's) on my mind. ... What's next? What bad things are gonna happen next?"

Palm and his grandfather reached out to us, and we asked Social Security to just take a look. The next day they told us they couldn't discus individual cases for privacy reasons but promised to reach out to Palm that day. They did and have kept calling.

"I think it was your team reaching out to them and someone looked at the file and realize right away that they made a huge mistake," Palm said.

A spokesperson with the Social Security Administration told 13 Investigates, "generally speaking, when an individual disagrees with a decision made by SSA, they can file an appeal." You can find out more about that process here.

Palm said, so far, he will get a year of back benefits. He's already received the first check and is expecting to get a new date for a hearing any day - not so he can get something extra. Just to fight for what the federal government program says he is entitled to.

"It's always been story of my life where I get ahead and then I just get knocked and then I have to keep trying, keep trying," Palm said.

UPDATE: On Oct. 4, Palm reached out to 13 Investigates to let us know social security approved his full disability. "Thank you and your team for doing this. I can't thank you enough for everything," he said.

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