Sep 21, 2013

Washington Post Article On Growing Number Of People Drawing Social Security Disability Benefits

     The Washington Post has a story today about how the number of people drawing Social Security disability benefits is soaring and it's because of the economy and because it's too easy to get disability benefits for mental illness and musculoskeletal impairments. Everybody knows that mental illness and musculoskeletal impairments aren't, you know, really real. The usual suspects, who have been carefully vetted by right wing "think tanks", are quoted. No one giving a differing viewpoint is quoted. The story sure looks like it was laid out for the reporter by some entity fronting for the Koch brothers.


Anonymous said...

I really wish they would stop telling people via the media how easy it is to get approved for SSDI. I noticed the story caused the line of new claimants to form at your practice this time by 6:30 a.m.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the Washington Post and NPR the usual right wing govt program opponents. WAKE-UP. U have a problem with SS Disability.


Anonymous said...

No one says that musculoskeletal and mental impairments don't exist. However, they are generally not "disabling" per a strict interpretation of SSA regulations.

Sure, they may limit a person to sedentary/unskilled work. But unless you are 50, that's not disabling. Furthermore, there's a pretty strong argument that the "GRID" rules should be adjusted upward (much like retirement age).

Anonymous said...

Just some quick facts.

Average monthly amount for SSI - $600-700/month. About $800-900/month in California the highest.

Chances of winning disability at a hearing - nation (46 percent and average wait time 11.5 months). see

The rise in disability claims is not due to the economy. It started rising in the early 2000s b/c the baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1955) started getting older.

I started helping people gain disability around 2004. Then, the SSD backlog meant about a 2-4 year wait for a hearing. Now it is about 1-2 years so slightly better.

Those thinking it is just easy to prove disability just look at the listing of impairments. The SSA makes it harder to gain disability. For example, more people are obese and have diabetes. So the SSA changed the listings a few years ago so that you cannot be disabled for diabetes alone. Huh?

The article may be right about when the SSA trust fund runs out. It depends on who you ask. Left wingers say it's OK and can be fixed. Right wingers say it will run out tomorrow. Somewhere in the middle is probably the right answer.

Attacking those disabled is just right wing wacko nonsense. Right wingers always attack the most need first - disabled, veterans, children, parents/mothers using food stamps, etc. They live in a fantasy world where everybody can get a job. Just is not true especially when you turn 50, 55 and 60.

Surprised the WPost allowed this nonsense to get through. I am sure it is politically backed by some right wing lobby. Really it is just nonsense.

Just don't believe it.

Don Levit said...

Anonymous at 11:30
Thanks for providing your knowledge and experience regarding disability recipients. I learned more in your few words than in many other blogs I have read about this subject.
Providing links makes your information even more compelling.
The trust fund running out of money is an accounting phenomenom, not a cash reality.
From an accounting perspective, the trust fund numbers indicate the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the Treasury, without an official authorization. As long as there is a positive balance, money is "automatically" withdrawn.
From a cash perspective, the withdrawing of money from the Treasury increases the debt held by the public. There is no cash in the trust fund. The cash resides in the Treasury. Of course, with no budget surplus, the primary way of withdrawing "cash" is through additional debt held by the public.
The cash that could have been in the trust fund was used over the years to pay for general expenses.
Now, the loans must be paid back - and soon. Unfortunately, without a budget surplus, the withdrawing of trust fund
"monies" will continue to be done by adding to the debt held by the public, further imprisoning our kids and grandkids.
Don Levit

Anonymous said...

@ 11:30pm: In California people who get SSI are currently not allowed to get SNAP benefits from what I've read cause of what amounts to a dispute between the State of California and the USDA on Food Stamps, so CA in it's SSP gives beneficiary's $156.40 a month and no more or less(It's fixed by CA law @ $156.40 a month), with the $710.00 from the SSA(both of which are administered by the SSA) makes a maximum of $866.40 a month, CA SSI recipients do not get more than $866.40.

Anonymous said...

The guy the article with a past salary of > $100,000 will be taking home >$2,500'per month. $30,000 per year for not working is not bad. Add in money earned under the table that ssa never finds out about-- it's a pretty good deal

Anonymous said...

Thanks anon 11:02 for the stats about SSI in California. I was giving more of a ballpark figure. I have had Cali clients who get less than the $866 depending on where they live e.g. rural areas like Barstow or Indio.

California is actually one of the highest in the nation for SSI. Makes sense considering high cost of living. Also California has a huge economy, probably still top 10 in the world if its own country. So why not chip in a few hundred bucks a month?

But I always tell my California SSI clients that this could change due to California politics. California has huge problems and may not be able to chip in down the road. We will see. Vamos a ver.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7:08

Are you familiar with SSR 96-8p?

Anonymous said...

I just love it when a major newspaper writer puts out a skewed and misleading opinion piece and portrays it as factual. If the Post reporter, Michael A. Fletcher, had done even cursory research on the topic he would have stumbled over many contradicting facts that are easily found (e.g. other reasons # of beneficiaries have increased, the truth about the proof requirements to get benefits). Those facts should have been included in any competent factual article but they were not. Where do the newspapers dig up these hacks?

Anonymous said...

to anon @ 12:19. Yes, I am familiar with SSR 96-8p. I use it all the time to justify ALJ decisions that are not supported by the evidence.

Anonymous said...

to 11:08

Apparently the ALJs disagree with you. There's more to deciding diability than the OME.

Anonymous said...

The SS disability program is rife with fraud. Dishonest claimants. Dishonest lawyers. Dishonest doctors. Lazy ALJs and senior attorneys who pay virtually every case just to make numbers and loaf at home. Serious reform of this boondoggle is needed.

Anonymous said...

Whew! Thank goodness we have anon 2:20 to set us straight...

Anonymous said...

Don Levit at 9.28am

...The loans must be paid back- and soon.

...the withdrawing of the trust fund monies will continue to be done by adding to the debt held by the public...

It doesn't have to be that way. How about a financial transaction tax the proceeds of which go to pay back the trust fund. Or, how about realocating monies away from military to Social Security. Repayment doesn't have to be a burden on the next generations.
It's really a question of priorities.

Anonymous said...

How about cutting foreign aid and redirecting the money to the Trust fund?? How about making some countries pay off their war debts to us? How about not taking anything more from the U.S. Citizen, but taking it from those that do not support this country?