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Jobless Strain Social Security ‘Disability’

From an unfazed Washington Post:

Because of concerns about Agent Orange, more than one-quarter of the 1 million Vietnam veterans receiving disability checks are getting compensation for diabetes and other common ailments of age, with erectile dysfunction among them, according to millions of VA claims records obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act.

Jobless are straining Social Security’s disability benefits program

By Michael A. Fletcher Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The number of former workers seeking Social Security disability benefits has spiked with the nation’s economic problems, heightening concern that the jobless are expanding the program beyond its intended purpose of aiding the disabled.

Applications to the program soared by 21 percent, to 2.8 million, from 2008 to 2009, as the economy was seriously faltering.

The growth is the sharpest in the 54-year history of the program. It threatens the program’s fiscal stability and adds to an administrative backlog that is slowing the flow of benefits to those who need them most.

So to say that the number of those seeking benefits has “spiked” seems to be a mild way of putting it.

Moreover, about 8 million workers were receiving disability benefits in June, an increase of 12.6 percent since the recession began in 2007, according to Social Security Administration statistics…

What other nation on the planet is paying for so many ‘disabled’ people? – As a total number, or a percentage? We wonder what the situation is in China, for instance.

About half of all applicants eventually make it onto the disability rolls – a percentage that has not changed appreciably with the recent spike in applications, Social Security officials say. The average age of new recipients is 49 – and less than 1 percent of them return to work, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Social Security officials say they are confident that their vetting process screens out most people who might try to get benefits without being qualified

Sure they do. How many professional anti-war protester, for instance, are receiving ‘disability’ despite being able to actively ‘demonstrate’ all over the nation.

Perhaps the standards for ‘disability’ have been too relaxed. Perhaps the program has gotten out of hand. Perhaps it was wrong-headed to begin with.

Applicants must endure a cumbersome process in which government claims examiners, administrative law judges and sometimes federal courts weigh whether they meet the program’s standard of having a disability that prevents them from performing "substantial" work.

The vast majority of applicants turn to a network of lawyers and other advocates to help them fill out the bewildering forms, organize their medical histories and categorize their illnesses in a way that would increase the chances of getting aid.

If applicants are turned down, the counselors – who typically work on a contingency fee that is capped at $6,000 – represent them through the appeals process

Perhaps we need to make this a less lucrative business for shady lawyers.

Deciding exactly who can and cannot work is an imperfect science, at best. A generation ago, most disability awards went to applicants suffering from cancer or from heart ailments. But now, more than half of awards go to applicants who claim mental disabilities, such as depression, or musculoskeletal disorders, such as back pain, which are harder for federal officials to disprove

And by a “generation ago” the Washington Post means 1990, which is when the highly pernicious Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, which included depression and back pain and even alcohol and drug addiction as ‘disabilities.’

So that now the odds are every bum you see on the street is collecting SSDI, along with their other benefits. Which is one reason why you see so many bums on the street.

Of course what Congress has done it can undo. But it will never happen because this is yet another important Democrat voting block.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Jobless Strain Social Security ‘Disability’”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Americans With Disabilities Act – I have a photo record (now that my phone makes photos) of people who have either a Handicap hanger or license plate, park in a handicap space and then trot away from the car in the best of health. Right now the total over two years of actively pursuing this is 224. Only three times have I witnessed an actually disabled person in a Handicapped parking space.

    Offered it to local law enforcement (it includes both license place, make and model and pictures of the people in no way handicapped – most often appearing to either low lifes or illegals) and the uniform response is “we have other matters to attend to”.

    That’s all I’m going to say about the above.

  2. Ultra-C says:

    In the meantime, SSD is a huge insurance company bailout scheme. It works like this: every long term disability policy has a provision that you MUST apply for SSD, or lose your long term disability (LTD) benefits. They even hook you up with another company that provides you with legal representation in the appeals process (look up Allsup, for example). Then, when you do get SSD, the insurance company does a set-off, so that they only pay the amount OVER what you get from SSD. This is a back-door way for the insurance companies to fund their own liabilities with taxpayer money; instead of paying a couple thousand per month to their insureds, they get away with paying maybe a few hundred per month — or nothing.

    How can the disability insurance companies get away with paying nothing to people who are truly disabled? Easy. Congress and the Supreme Court have made it impossible to sue disability insurers for “bad faith,” and therefore they cut off benefits arbitrarily and make insureds appeal (don’t doubt me on this, I’ve seen it many times). Virtually no lawyers will help in the appeals process because there is no way for the lawyers to get paid for doing a mountain of work. So, instead of paying a few hundred dollars per month above what SSD pays, the insurer pays nothing (even though the insured had to pay for the coverage to begin with, and it is pricey coverage!).

  3. Ultra-C says:

    I just want to be clear about one thing: I am for the conservative, capitalist fix wherever possible. Congress could easily pass a law making SSD coverage “secondary” to all other forms of disability insurance, so that disability insurance carriers don’t get the benefit of an offset. There would also have to be “tort reform,” which would be a lifting of the ban on “bad faith” litigation against ERISA based disability plans (which is the vast majority of disability insurance plans). The free market would be turned loose, and taxpayers would save many billions of dollars. Insurance companies would still make a profit, only now without putting millions of disabled workers on the government payroll. It’s a win, win, win.

  4. jimreport says:

    Thats going to put a strain on the Social Security fund. They better figure out how best to seize those 401k accounts, and quick!

    Speaking of that, they better set the layup for that shot with stories about an unexpected draw on the system. Oh wait, seems they already are.

  5. wardmama4 says:

    -‘even alcohol and drug addiction as ‘disabilities’-

    At the height of my alcoholism – I worked 40 hours a week, went to college 2 or 3 nights/days a week and did all the cooking, cleaning & for 2 children all their school meetings/scouts/medical appointments.

    At no time (even after almost dying & in hospital) did I ever think for a second of sitting around looking for a buck from Uncle Sugar.

    In the meantime – my son who is on SSI is not on Medicaid – because we make $200./year too much money. He can never live by himself (safety issues – he has serious hand damage) – and he is never going to grow his leg back – but we have to figure out payments for his dental care – because the stupid system here says we make too much money. I can’t wait until my husband graduates – the ‘state’ will probably reduce his SSI payment too.

    And yet – as pointed out – many bogus ‘conditions’ are listed as disabilities and draining the system that should truly be for those who are disabled. Gotta love the Left – always championing a ‘victim’ while truly ignoring the real situation and hurting everyone in the end.

    God Help America
    A Proud American Infidel

  6. jimreport says:

    Speaking of bogus conditions, reminds me of a guy I once met in the 80’s. Ran a radiator repair business at his house, on full disability. I met him at a party my parents were throwing at our house. His crippling condition – agoraphobia. Fear of going outside.

  7. proreason says:

    Social Security and Medicare, you know, the programs for which you have been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in your lifetime, at the muzzle of a gun……are now the tip of the spears of INCOME REDISTRIBUTION.

    A lady on O’Reilly last night said that a major plank of Obamycare is to gut Medicare to fund Medicaid, health care for the poor (5% of recipients) and fat-ass welfare recipients (the other 95%). She said the average spending on Medicare recipients is scheduled to average $2K less per annum, for starters.

    Let me repeat…YOU, in your generosity, have decided to give $2K per year to Obamy’s base….every year from now until you die. How generous of you. But it’s not a tax. Now, that redistributed $2K per year means that many of you will die because you will be refused care that would otherwise have extended your life. But it’s not serious, or anything, and even though you contributed for decades, it’s your duty to give up some of your life so that rappers can wear expensive tennis shoes. That’s what Social Justice is all about. Rappers haven’t had the opportunity to learn English or learn job skills in their gangs, so Rapper Unemployment is higher even than the 20% unemployment for people who can speak English and have marketable skills. That is an unfairness that Obamy was born to correct. It’s called “change”.

    The details on Social Security haven’t been decided yet…but you can rest assured that it will be “fair”.

  8. NoNeoCommies says:

    Man, my back has been causing me chronic pain for decades and is only getting worse!
    Now I hear that I can just sign up for SSD and get some of that cash I put into Social Security all the years I worked?
    I would rather have a job and an HMO that would say something besides “there is nothing we can do for you”.

  9. Busterbrown123 says:

    Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is the new WELFARE system. These folks go to a doctor for vague pain or depression complaints, and then they apply for disability. Lawyers make a living getting clients on the disability rolls. Social Security gets the doctor’s records (per patient’s request) and then SS puts that person on disability for life with lifetime SSDI. The whole thing is shameful. There are millions of able bodied citizens receiving disability for bogus medical conditions. 99.99% of medical conditions do not render someone totally unable to work. When asked why they are not working, their reply is “I’m on disability.” I hope you expose SSDI to be Welfare by another name.

  10. swee says:

    My brother, who has Asperger’s, is on disability…and wants off it badly so he can earn megabucks! That said, he’s chicken to get off of it too. Right now, he’s got a cap on what can earn because of his SS disability benefits…he works the bare minimum, like 10 hours a week at a large local shipping company. He’s in a union with great benefits. For someone who works so little, he has done well. I’m sure he’d welcome reform. He would figure that would be the kick in the arse that he needs.

  11. Mae says:

    I’ve known any number of people on SSI for various illnesses such as MS, true chronic depression or bi-polar. Some were able to work part time but their disabilities made them difficult employees and they were often “laid off” to save the sanity of their co-workers. I’ve also known some who did not go on SSI, even though the should have, because they hated to have people speak against them and field inquiries as to whether they “deserved” to go on SSI. It’s easy for those of us who have not been in dire circumstances to disparage those who have no other recourse except to turn to government, especially if they have no family. Living on the streets is the alternative. So, what is fake and what is not is often hard to tell just by seeing a person walking swiftly away from a vehicle he has parked in a disabled zone. A dear friend of mine with breast cancer has to set people straight quite often when she is accused of looking too healthy to have a disabled hanger for her car.

    It’s always been my contention that Social Security should only be for the retired worker and only after 65 without an early retirement option. All other governmental assistance, such as payments to children whose father is over 65 or who are orphans or who have one surviving parent or for adult SSI, should be under a completely different program and be means tested. But, of course, that is too reasonable.

    The various state disability programs are perhaps scammed more regularly than SSI, I would think. It’s a regular cottage industry in California.

  12. My dad’s profession was as a workman’s comp atty often representing those mean ol insurers. In hard times the rise in Comp claims went up with unemployment.

    Believe it or not, there used to be folks that investigated a worker’s viability. Investigations frequently found people were faking it. It saved em a bundle to at least check.

    I guess it would be too much for the gubmint to do the same.. Especially since its all a part of the plan (Cloward-Piven)

  13. imaginaryspirit says:

    I have two college degrees and was earning $55,000 ten years ago when I had to quit working due to severe bladder pain, urgency & frequency. It took me FIVE YEARS to get SSDI and I was denied, denied, denied until I went before the judge who couldn’t believe that I had not been approved. You are full of BS if you think the approval process is rubber stamped. I used to be hard hearted and look down my nose like you do at those who didn’t work until the shoe was on my foot. What you should be saying to yourself instead is “there but by the grace of God go I.” You have no idea whatsoever how unrelenting pain affects every aspect of your life to the point where you no longer have any kind of normal life at all. Unless you consider sitting on your ass watching TV morning, noon and night, rarely if ever leaving the house, and living in poverty to be your idea of an easy ride. How dare you criticize people in chronic pain who apply for disability benefits. Maybe one of these days you will be in my position and use up your life savings from your high paying job while waiting for Social Security to approve your insurance – which you paid for – and have to hold your hand out to your elderly parent for help just to get food and medicine. How smug you are when you have your health.

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