In recent months and years, the Social Security Disability program has been the subject of much debate and conflict. As record numbers of individuals continue to apply for disability benefits, politicians and journalists have taken aim at the governmental subsidy program which they contend is broken.
Washington politicians have sought to dismantle the SSD program in an attempt to further their political agenda. Some journalists have also sought to discredit the program’s effectiveness and vilify disability attorneys who aim to assist applicants in securing much-needed disability benefits.
While there are certainly problems with how SSD benefits are determined and awarded, most of these problems center around long wait times and small payment amounts for benefit recipients. In fact, individuals who apply for SSD benefits are often forced to wait upwards of one year before learning whether or not they qualify. In many cases, individuals are denied benefits and must then attempt to navigate through the complex and arduous benefit appeals process.
If and when SSD benefits are secured, the monthly amount awarded covers only an individual’s basic living expenses and by no means allows recipients to live a life of luxury. In reality, due to their injuries many SSD recipients have no other means of income and are forced to rely solely upon their monthly benefit amounts to provide for food, clothing and housing.
A recent news story took aim at attorneys who aim to help disabled Americans secure much-needed SSD and SSI benefits. The story claimed that such attorneys are merely seeking to further their own personal gain and are to blame for the increase in disability benefit claims. Such allegations, however, fail to take into consideration the large population of aging baby boomers, many of whom have become disabled after years of work. These claims also fail to recognize that the need for legal representation in obtaining disability benefits is driven by inefficiencies in how such benefits are determined and awarded, not greed.
Source: The Public Record, “Understanding Social Security: Are Disability Claims Lawyer-Driven,” Michael P. Boyle, April 25, 2013