There's another in the series of Washington Post articles about Social Security disability. It repeats many of the same themes we've come to expect from the Post:
- Disability recipients can go back to work if they really want to -- but they mostly don't want to because they don't want to lose their disability benefits.
- There's a lot of disability in rural areas because there aren't many jobs in rural areas, meaning that disability benefits are little more than disguised unemployment benefits.
- Disability is mostly due to things like mental illness which people can overcome if they really want.
- Drugs and alcohol are a major factor in disability.
The article is misleading. It presents mental illness as if it were no more than feeling a bit anxious, depressed and discouraged. Who among us doesn't feel that way sometimes? I know nothing about this woman's case but I know you don't get on Social Security disability due to the sort of mild psychiatric symptoms discussed in this article.
I also know that in any case, mental illness is but a fraction of the disability picture. If you wanted a more typical disability recipient, you'd have an older man or woman with physical health problems that will only get worse with time but a case like that wouldn't display what the Post wants to display.
The unstated message of this series is that Social Security ought to approve fewer people for Social Security disability and should be required to take a more coercive approach to getting disability recipients back to work. I don't think that's justified. It's already incredibly difficult to get on Social Security disability benefits. No further effort to get people back to work will be effective because the vast majority of disability recipients are far too sick to work and don't get any better over time.