Hypocrisy In The Disability Program
It is very easy for the members of congress to refuse aid during a natural disaster in other parts of the county, but it seems that when disaster strikes their own district they are more than willing to accept help from the government to benefit their constituents. This is a well-known example of hypocrisy when it comes to government spending.
The same goes for Social Security disability claims. It is very easy for the people of the United States to question how valid disability claims really are, until they themselves need those benefits.
Scamming the disability program is such a common problem that it is very easy to find someone who has, or knows someone who has, been accused of filing a fraudulent claim. And it’s just as easy to find people who have genuine claims that have been rejected and had to seek a lawyer. With 3.2 million applicants for disability benefits last year alone, it’s almost impossible to say how many were legitimate.
Three senior House Republicans declared in a letter to the agency on March 11th, “Federal disability claims are often paid to individuals who are not legally entitled to receive them.”
Why This Is Allowed To Continue
It’s no secret that Social Security is in serious financial trouble, and the acceleration of disability claims (about 25% since 2007) is not helping the matter at all. The day when the Social Security disability program must begin to reduce benefits is approaching more quickly than ever.
More than half of the benefit claims that have been rejected by state and field agencies are later approved by administrative judges later, according to investigators. Furthermore, according to the Associated Press, these agencies are under no obligation to follow-up or review cases later to ensure that the claimants are still disabled.
The Social Security Administration has admitted to having 1.3 million claim reviews backlogged, but officials blame Congress for budget cuts and a reduced ability to investigate cases on an individual basis.
Officials also believe that disability claims are on the rise because baby boomers are reaching an age now when they are more prone to injury and illness but have yet to reached the age of retirement.
The Best Solution To The Problem
Congress has been urged to not take the easy path out by tapping into Social Security’s retirement program, which is substantially larger than the disability fund, when the House subcommittee on entitlements begins hearings today. The retirement program has its own financial problems, and raiding it again will only exacerbate Social Security’s overall problems.
It has been noted that many believe that reducing fraud within the system through providing more funds for investigation and follow-up reviews is a better solution.
It is the opinion of many that those with a legitimate disability claim should not be required to shell out money to hire a lawyer when so many who are both physically and mentally able to work receive benefits without question.
Proving the validity of claims on lower-back injury, mental illnesses, and a variety of other maladies is already a difficult task, but it becomes nearly impossible with Congress continuing to cut funding for investigations and criticize agencies for not investigating the cases.