The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is once again under attack by Republicans in Congress. The SSDI program will exhaust its trust fund reserves by December 2016, threatening a 19 percent cut in your benefits. Normally, Congress would simply shift revenue from the retirement trust fund to plug holes in the disability fund. However, the House Republicans have thrown up a roadblock to prevent this from happening. Republicans claim this new rule will force Congress to fix the program while others see this as an attempt to weaken all of Social Security.
Recently, Sen. Rand Paul suggested that half the people receiving Social Security Disability were free-loaders. Not only were his comments factually inaccurate, but they also play on many conservatives’ resentment toward people receiving government aid.
Let’s look at the facts. First and foremost, while you work, taxes are taken out of your paycheck every week to pay for insurance in case you become disabled and unable to work. So the people receiving disability benefits under this Social Security program have been hard-working people who have paid into the system for years.
Secondly, it’s very difficult to receive benefits under this program, particularly for individuals under the age of 50. For individuals under 50, they must prove they are suffering from a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from doing even sedentary work. Unlike many other disability programs, Social Security covers only total disability – not partial or short-term disability – and benefits are a function of how much you earned and paid into the system.
Calling people on disability free-loaders may play amongst the ranks of the ultra-conservatives, but it’s disrespectful and factually inaccurate. It also doesn’t account for the fact that almost 60 percent of all applicants are denied benefits, even after exhausting all appeals and a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The Social Security Disability program isn’t perfect – there’s always room for improvement. And yes, there’s some fraud in the system as there is in every system. However, what we cannot allow this to happen is the entire system be called into question. It’s unfair for hardworking Americans who paid into the system and now receive disability benefits to be demonized for political purposes.
If you need help obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, call the disability attorneys at Hunter & Everage.