Although the Social Security Disability Insurance program did not exist until 1956, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt articulated the values responsible for its creation many years earlier, stating that “(t)he test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
Lately, however, the bully pulpit (a term coined by President Theodore Roosevelt) on America’s health, social and human services issues has been occupied by outspoken critics who want to eliminate or severely curtail vital benefits, including SSD and SSI benefits, that many people in Oregon and other states depend on for survival.
While a crusade to rid government spending of waste, fraud and abuse sounds good, in theory, it only works if you hit legitimate targets. Otherwise, such efforts just add to the government waste pile and in this case, also serve as a convenient pretext for solving our federal budget woes on the backs of disabled Americans who lack significant political power.
Those critics complain that SSDI and SSI benefits are too generous and too easy to obtain. They say that the programs have simply become another form of welfare whose rolls are filled by people who have the ability to work but would rather commit fraud and abuse the system.
The truth — as disabled Americans, Social Security Disability attorneys, nonprofit advocacy groups and even many government officials who work in the system know all too well — tells a far, far different story, which is what we plan to talk about in our next post this week.
Source: thehill.com, “Misinformation fueling attacks on Disability program,” Charlie Melancon, May 29, 2012