As we’ve written about several times in recent months, Social Security Disability programs have been facing a steady stream of attacks from politicians, pundits and self-described “taxpayer watchdogs.”
Unfortunately, much of the criticism has not been grounded in fact (to put it kindly), and it has also left many people in Oregon and throughout the United States with the false impression that Social Security Disability benefits are nothing more than free money for lazy people who don’t want to work.
In a recently published editorial, Social Security Disability attorneys Debra Shifrin and Charles Martin offered a strong rebuttal to one of the most recent attacks that we feel warrants a mention. The latest kerfuffle, as Shifrin and Martin noted, focused on the fact that the U.S. economy created fewer new jobs in the month of June than the number of people who began collecting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits the same month.
While that statistic certainly sounds bad (and, “coincidentally,” reflects poorly on President Obama with the November election just around the corner) — it’s also extremely misleading.
Simply stated, the numbers bear no relation to one another. Job creation statistics are a measurement of current economic health. They’re based on facts, i.e., how many jobs did we add this month or how many “new jobs” did we create as a nation. Social Security Disability statistics, by contrast, involve a much more complex set of factors (the largest of which, the post WWII “Baby Boom,” was set in motion more than 50 years ago) and generally provide little insight into anything other than disability itself.
Source: The Hill, “Distorting the truth about disability insurance,” Charles Martin and Debra Shifrin, July 30, 2012