Apr 3, 2012

Panel Discussion On Why So Many People Are Filing Claims For Social Security Disability

     The National Academy of Social Insurance is holding a panel discussion today at 10:00 EST on the subject "Why Are More People Claiming Disability Insurance and What Should Be Done About It?" They ran out of space in the room they originally planned to hold it in and moved it to a larger room. They've run out of space in the larger room. The event will be broadcast live on C-SPAN2. Here is the lineup for the event:
  • Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration
  • Lisa Ekman, Senior Policy Advisor, Health and Disability Advocates
  • David Stapleton, Director, Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research
  • Marty Ford, Director, Public Policy Office, The Arc of the United States
  • Tony Young, Senior Public Policy Strategist, NISH
  • Mark Miller, Reuters
     No offense but who is Lisa Ekman? Why are two people who make their living off the myth that large numbers of Social Security disability recipients can be returned to work -- Stapelton and Young -- on this panel? Ticket to Work doesn't work. Stapelton and Young will undoubtedly say that if more money is devoted to their employers that tons of people will fly off the Social Security disability rolls. Nonsense. It hasn't happened and it won't happen. If you require people to be half dead or nearly fully crazy before you put them on benefits, you shouldn't expect them to ever return to work. It's that simple. Most people attending or watching this event have little feel for who is actually drawing Social Security disability benefits in this country and are easily misled.


Anonymous said...

"If you require people to be half dead or nearly fully crazy before you put them on benefits..."

I think sometimes we, as disability attorneys, take for granted the level of impairment of most of our clients. A lot has been made by some, especially in the conservative right, about how too many people are getting benefits who do not medically deserve them. The more I think about my clients, though, the more I realize that if I were hiring for an entry-level position in my company less than 1/8 of them would get an interview and I don't think I would ever hire any of them nor would I want any of them working with me, my staff, or my partners.
Our clients really are the most broken-down members of society who have lost all ability to effectively function in a full-time competitive work setting, and it's just a small miracle that most of them (with some exceptions) have not wound up pushing shopping carts on the streets.

Of course, I don't practice in Huntington, West Virginia.

Anonymous said...

But the standard is NOT, whether the claimant would ever actually be hired for a fulltime job. As you well know, the rule is whether the claimant is CAPABLE of working.

Too often many people are paid based on an understanding that in the "real world" no one would ever hire them, because they have no work experience, extensive drug hx, or prison records -- all factors that should not be considered.

Anonymous said...

If you are making any significant money as a disability attorney, then a sizeable portion of your clients are individuals in their 50s and early 60s who are capable of performing sedentary or light work and could certainly work if they found an employer who was not turned off by their age.

There are certainly people who are so limited that despite their best efforts and strongest desires, they cannot work. However, for many claimants at the hearing level, the primary deterrent to working is lack of motivation; plenty of people with significant health problems work.

Nobbins said...

The title of this conference took me back a bit. It sound like they're more focused on limitting financial obligations than they are in meeting them.

I used to this Goss was one of the good guys. I'm interested in hearing about his presentation and his contribution to this panel.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame SSA for setting the standard for disability, blame Congress. SSA is only one type of disability insurance program among others (state programs, for example) and probably the harshest. But this is all playing out the way Congress set it up.