The Social Security disability insurance program has recently been maligned in the media by television shows such as 60 Minutes. However, our Texas readership needs to keep in mind that there is another side to this SSDI story.
Fact-checkers have apparently already demonstrated that media portrayals of the program have in certain cases been misleading. What may not be reported in these broadcastings is that there are high standards that need to be met before disability benefits will be granted, fraud in the system appears to be low, and that recipients are not getting rich off of the benefits that they are receiving.
Here is what we also need to understand:
- Most SSDI applications are denied. Fewer than 40 percent are actually approved.
- Fraud in the SSDI program is extremely rare according to a variety of sources.
- Most of the growth of the SSDI program has come about due to changes in the working population. There are more women entering the workforce than in past years, and there is a larger number of aging workers holding onto employment positions.
- The number of SSDI awards during the economic downturn actually declined.
- Few disabled beneficiaries have ever been able to earn more than $10,000 per year from job-related income.
- Disability benefits are $1,130 per month on average for recipients.
- SSDI benefits do help keep recipients out of poverty and are generally all the income that these individuals have available.
Attorneys experienced in the SSDI area can assist disabled claimants locate the financial assistance they need. Having attorneys assist in the process to make certain that applications are filled out correctly and reporting is accurate will make for more consistency in the decision-making.
Source: Think Progress, "Nine Facts That Prove Disability Insurance Isn't A Giant Boondoggle," Rebecca Vallas and Shawn Fremstad, Oct. 16, 2013