Difficulties in Obtaining Disability Benefits

Every week, we see a new rash of news articles about the fate of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. Most focus on the fact that by the end of 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not have enough money in its budget to pay all disability awards. There is expected to be a 20 percent reduction in the budget if Congress doesn’t act quickly to fix the pending deficit.

downtown-columbus-ohio-1435338-m.jpgOne way to fix this predicted crisis is to shift money from the Social Security retirement benefits to the SSDI and Supplemental Secularity Income (SSI) benefits fund. The retirement fund is currently fully funded through 2030, so if money is reallocated to the disability fund, there is time to work on a long-term solution or do another funds shift at some point in the future. This is what Congress has done numerous times in the last 60 years in which Social Security has been in existence.

However, many in the media and Congress are using this as chance to discuss all alleged problems with Social Security, and many want to use this opportunity to cut or privatize the program. This would result in a tremendous hardship to millions of Americans who depend on disability insurance to make ends meet and are truly too disabled to work and take care of their families.

One of the claims by opponents of the SSDI and SSI program is that it is too easy to get disability insurance, and most claimants are gaming the system, to the use the terminology of Senator Rand Paul. There has been a lot of focus on how benefits are particularly easy to get in Ohio, where administrative law judges (ALJs) tend to side with claimants, according to critics.

In the Boston area, our social security disability attorneys know this could not be further from the truth.

With respect to Ohio, a disability benefits attorney has written a letter to the editor to explain how this not true in her state either. According to this published letter, the total number of disability claims approved by ALJs in her state have fallen from nearly 60 percent to around 40 percent in the past several years.

Essentially, this means ALJs are denying six out of ten people who apply for disability benefits and go through the entire appeal process within SSA. This does not sound like obtaining benefits is “easy.”

In reality, benefits are not easy to get, and it is very difficult to “game” the system as some have claimed. One of the things disabled to people can do is to speak with an experienced disability attorney, because the deck is definitely stacked against unrepresented claimants.

This letter also took umbrage with claims the average age of those claiming disability were between the ages of 25 and 39. According to statistical data in that state, the average of age of those currently receiving disability benefits was actually around 54. This is just one of many examples of how those fighting funding for disability benefits and blaming disabled people for problems with the system are using numbers not supported by accurate data.

If you need help with an SSDI claim in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:
Disability benefits aren’t that easy to get , March 22, 2015, The Columbus Dispatch

More Blog Entries:
Longer Waits Expected for Disability Hearings, April 7, 2014, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog

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