From the Times-Herald Record of the Hudson Valley in New York:
Robert Veneziali knows he's sick. Anyone who looks at him knows it too. Anyone, that is, unless he or she works in the Social Security Administration's medical disability review section.
They don't see Robert Veneziali when his legs give way beneath him and his body hits the floor and freezes up and his voice is barely strong enough to cry for help.
The medical reviewers at SSA know Robert Veneziali suffers from rapidly progressing debilitating multiple sclerosis, a disease that sometimes comes in terrifying, months-long waves. When these waves strike him, Veneziali has to deal with vision and memory loss, vertigo and physical numbness. He'll be unable to walk and have trouble swallowing his food. He doesn't dare drive; sometimes walking is a risky proposition. ...
Reluctantly, he filed for disability benefits for him and his kids and his wife, Tracey, who has to work three jobs to keep the family afloat. Social Security doctors turned him down and told him he could be re-examined in another 18 months.
That was too much for his mother, Elaine Veneziali. She got hold of Rep. John Hall. Hall caught wind of a recent CBS news report that contended a "culture of denial" in New York and 13 other states designed to deter people from applying for disability benefits. As a result, Hall has called for a federal investigation into the charge.
Veneziali's treatment was "unconscionable," he said. It could only be worse if it proves to be endemic to the system.