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Report: National Panel Wants to Know How Disability Benefits are Being Awarded

There has been a lot of talk lately that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will have to be cut by nearly 20 percent by late 2016 if Congress does not decide to fund the program soon. This would obviously be devastating to roughly 10 million Americans, and this is simply not acceptable. However, in addition to how much money is being spent on disability benefits in the United States, according to a recent article from the Boston Globe, a national panel is calling for additional investigation into how that money is being distributed.

1088940_2_annual_reports__3This was the recommendation in national report on the subject, which found some pretty striking issues about how SSA is awarding benefits. For example, the report found that in Hawaii, North Dakota, and Colorado, less that one percent of all indigent children were awarded benefits for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as well as various other mental health conditions, while in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, more than five percent of indigent children are receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits for the same medical conditions.

As our Boston disability attorneys understand, report writers went out of their way to say they had no evidence of any fraudulent management issues within the Social Security Administration in terms of how benefits are awarded, which leaves other reasons for many variances between different states found by those studying the issue.   This may help support arguments from people who claim parents in certain states are feigning debilitating conditions in their children to obtain benefits through what some deem an “alternative welfare system.”

While this may conjure of images of a parent making a young child drink a two-liter of Mountain Dew to appear hyper, as depicted on Orange is the New Black, the reality of this situation is there are many children who suffer from serious disabilities and without much-needed benefits, there families would not be able to take care of them.

This is not to say there isn’t any fraud in the world, or even in the Social Security disability benefits program, but the problem is politicians like to make headlines when running for office, and millions of disabled Americans applying for or receiving SSDI benefits seem to make an easy target. However, there is very little to truth to these allegations. Not only are the vast majority of people collecting disability benefits genuinely disabled, the fact that is so hard to qualify for benefits is proof. This is especially true of unrepresented claimants, as the system is set up a in way that makes things very difficult for people who do not have any help through the process. Speaking with an experienced attorney who regularly represents disabled people who are applying for benefits can greatly increase the chance of as successful an outcome as the facts will allow.

It will be interesting to see if there is any follow-up done on this study, as requested in the report, and to see what the results of this additional investigation will be.

If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Report calls for research on how SSI funds are granted, September 9, 2015, Washington Post, by Patricia wen

More Blog Entries:

SSDI Approvals Lowest in Five Years, June 20, 2014, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyers Blog