Social Security Disability: Will the Program be Abolished or Cut Back?
It is always scary to represent people who are in serious need of social program type benefits when jungle drums start beating in conservative camps. Not ten short years ago, it happened here in California. The “Workers’ Compensation Crisis” was harshly dealt with by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, superhero from Hollywood. The result: a hundred year old benefit system for injured workers was demolished and the insurance companies that underwrote the system made out like multinational oil companies on the savings.
Whether you are collecting Social Security Disability benefits or one of the millions of Americans who sleep better at night knowing this program exists, you have likely heard the negative buzz in the news surrounding this benefit. What once was considered by most as a humble safety net is now being called a “secret welfare system” and a “lazy man’s way out of work.”
Why is such an important benefit getting such a bad rap? It all started with a National Public Radio program this year focusing on the abuses of a system most of us have paid into all our lives. Chana Joffe-Walt put out a large article for NPR entitled “Unfit for Work” (apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work). Ms. Joffe-Walt interviewed several Americans on
The heat really picked up when 60 Minutes aired a segment similarly critical of the system. According to them the
Here in California, the “reforms” of the Workers’ Compensation System in 2004 terminated temporary disability for applicants at two years. Many injured workers simply find themselves unable to return to work in this time period due to serious on the job injury. In effect, these changes forced people to apply for Social Security Disability. In effect, the California Legislature pushed this “cost of doing business” onto the Federal system.
What is most distressing is that both of these respected news sources fail to mention how important this social safety net is to so many Americans. Without it, some folks would be living under a bridge. Also, there was no mention of the fact that in most cases, people fight for years for these benefits and get little to no financial support during the process. Finally, they fail to note that financial benefits, when awarded, are meager at best (averaging around a thousand dollars a month). A very insightful article was recently put out by a professional organization, NOSSCR. This article is entitled Nine Facts That Prove Disability Insurance isn’t a Giant Boondoggle. Check it out: nosscr.org/news/2013/10/nine-facts-prove-disability-insurance-isnt-giant-boondoggle.
It is no cake walk getting qualified for Social Security Disability. Claimants are put through a gamut of medical evaluations and asked to complete reams of paperwork that many of them simply do not understand. Not only does someone have to fit the very narrowly defined definitions of disability under the Federal Code of Regulations, they must have the medical evidence to fully back it all up. See for yourself. Please feel free to download or request a copy of our free book, The Social Security Disability Survival Manual available by calling 530-899-7178.
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