Report distorts reality of SSD program

A September 12 report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations identified problems with the Social Security Disability (SSD) program, but many of these problems are the result of the repercussions of the 2008 financial crisis and the inability of Congress to create long term solutions, according to a press release.

The report concluded that in more than 25 percent of the cases, decisions to award benefits “failed to properly address insufficient, contradictory, or incomplete evidence.” Because of the backlog of cases now flooding the SSD program, the administrative law judges were unable to review all the evidence.

After the 2008 financial crisis, many laid off workers and aging boomers applied in unprecedented numbers for SSD benefits.

While 25 percent of the cases contained errors or were insufficiently justified, the errors went in both directions, both awarding and denying benefits.

Senator Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and Ron Miller, the Founder and Managing Director of Disability Group, Inc., the nation’s premier disability advocacy group, both vehemently disagreed with the recommendation in the report that mandates that a “government representative” be present at all disability hearings.

They contend that the presence of an unnamed “government representative” is not necessary to the fair adjudication of disability claims, nor is it a “compassionate and dignified manner to treat disabled individuals.”

If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security Disability, contact the disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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