Widespread abuses within the Social Security Administration’s disability system are becoming a point of contention as the Senate weighs the nomination of Carolyn Watts Colvin as the agency’s commissioner.
Some congressional Democrats have already taken issue with Colvin, who has served as the acting commissioner since February 2013, because she presided over staffing cuts and field-office closures. And earlier this week, Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote a letter harshly criticizing Colvin. “We’d expect that [Colvin] will be pressed on her track record, including the agency’s allowance of hundreds of [administrative-law judges] to rubber-stamp claimants onto disability over the past decade,” says Becca Glover Watkins, the communications director for the committee.I think we can now say that the right wing assault on Colvin's nomination has begun in earnest. There will be two major lines of attack. First, service at Social Security is terrible. Field offices are closing It must be Colvin's fault. The real problem is Social Security's operating budget, set by Congress but Colvin has already made the mistake of failing to really call out Congress on this, setting herself up to take the blame. Second, Social Security disability is full of fraud. It must be Colvin's fault. The attacks on Social Security disability are ridiculous but if you keep throwing mud at it, some of it sticks.