Many of the claims made by taxpayer watchdog groups and politicians seeking to curtail Social Security Disability benefits programs are simply untrue. For example, one of the most frequently repeated criticisms is that Social Security Disability benefits are too easy to obtain, that all it takes a doctor’s note.
Oregon residents who have applied for SSDI benefits know this is false — and those critics would too if they took a moment to look at the Social Security Administration website information detailing the claims and appeals process or to read one of the dozens of news stories about denied applicants, eligibility nightmares and interminable wait times that are published each month.
In truth, qualifying for SSDI requires a claimant to have worked in recent years and paid into the FICA system. Claimants must also provide a substantial amount of objective medical evidence, including physician examination and treatment notes, mental health records, blood panels and imaging studies, that clearly demonstrate they no longer have the ability to work in virtually any capacity.
Those facts undercut two other favorite criticisms of SSDI: that the system is operating as a de facto form of welfare rife with fraud, waste and abuse — and that it provides “generous” rewards to people who deliberately choose to not work or seek gainful employment.
The truth is that for most people, monthly Social Security Disability Insurance payments are more than likely going to be equivalent to a minimum wage-level income rather than the executive compensation package some critics suggest. In any event, the current push to reform SSDI is a shortsighted effort that fails to appreciate the real purpose and larger benefits the program provides.
Source: thehill.com, “Misinformation fueling attacks on Disability program,” Charlie Melancon, May 29, 2012