Our last post focused on the perception of the Social Security Disability Program portrayed in the media, particularly among talking-head pundits and media-savvy politicians. The common narrative, which is false, is that SSDI is rife with fraud and that receiving benefits is too easy.
A close look (or even a sidelong glance) at the statistics reveals that these assertions are untrue. Today, we’ll debunk a few of these myths about Social Security Disability Insurance.
First of all, SSDI benefits are not “easy” to get, even if you have a noticeable and obvious disability. After all appeals have been exhausted, only about 40 percent of applicants are approved for benefits. This is one of the reasons why it’s a good idea to seek the help of an experienced SSD attorney. You want to make sure that you are submitting all the relevant information as early in the process as possible.
Fraud is also not the issue that many members of Congress are making it out to be. To be sure, there have been some notable and highly publicized cases of fraud (including here in the New Jersey and New York region). But these cases are rare exceptions to the rule.
What little fraud has been discovered was discovered by the Social Security Administration. Congress launched its own investigation which did not uncover any previously unknown cases of fraud. Nor did the investigation reveal that any undeserving applicants had been approved.
If anything, Congress has made it harder to maintain the integrity of the SSDI program. Over the past few years, the SSA has received about $1 billion less in funding than requested. Budget constraints have forced the SSA to get rid of nearly 11,000 employees since 2011.
There may be problems with the SSDI program, but many of the problems discussed by politicians are being exaggerated or even created by those same individuals.
Source: The Hill, “SSDI: The truth behind media and political mischaracterizations,” Barbara Silverstone, Aug. 25, 2014