Harley Christopher Andrews died of a brain tumor Sept. 2. He was only 23, dying before he had a chance to really begin living.
Twelve days later, his mother, Wendy Andrews Smith, opened this cheerful note from the Social Security Administration addressed to her firstborn: "
We're writing to let you know that we have made a disability hearing decision on your case. Our decision: We find that your condition has improved and you are capable of working."The article goes on to say that the brain tumor was a glioblastoma multiforme. I have too much personal experience with glioblastoma multiforme. My mother and my sister both died as a result of this type of brain tumor. It is invariably fatal. (No, it's not a familial tumor but there is a modest statistical increase in the risk of the tumor if you have a family member who has been diagnosed with glioblastoma. There are no published reports of three members of the same family having suffered a glioblastoma multiforme. Yes, I think about it.) I have over thirty years of experience with the Social Security disability programs. I cannot imagine how Mr. Andrews' benefits were cut off. This is as bad as a mistake can get at Social Security.