A Look at the Politics Surrounding Social Security Disability Benefits

A recent news article from The Atlantic takes a look at how disability benefits have become a partisan issue. If you watch any of the comments made by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, you can easily see that they are on very different sides of this issue, but the question is whether or not this was always the case.  As it turns out, the answer to this question is no, as the payment of disability benefits was once a bipartisan issue.  It should be noted that when we say disability benefits were not always a partisan issue, were are not talking about six decades ago when the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program began, but rather as recent as the 1990s.

wheelchair7For example, it was in the 1990s when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was authorized and supported by both major parties. These days a lot has changed and we have democrats including Clinton arguing that the disability fund should be fully funded for years to come, and those on the other side of the aisle are saying that there should be a major overhaul of the system prior to any more money being allotted.  There is also the argument, used heavily during the Republican primary, that the vast majority of people on disability benefits are “gaming the system” or outright committing fraud to obtain disability benefits to which they are not entitled.However, as our Boston disability attorneys have seen time and time again, the vast majority of claimants and those actually receiving disability benefits are genuinely disabled and very much in need of benefits.  We know this because it is very difficult to obtain disability benefits even if there is no question that you are disabled and in need of benefits.  The reason for this is because the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency that runs the two disability problems, has made it an unwritten policy to deny the vast majority of benefits claims as a way to save money.  Since Congress seems unwilling to properly fund the program due to partisan fights, SSA chooses to pay out as little in benefits as possible as means of keeping the program afloat.  This is not fair to those in need of benefits, but that is they way it has been working out for many years.

Despite the many problems for disabled Americans, faced by partisan opposition to funding the problem, even those who call for massive overhauls before committing any more money to the disability fund usually relent and agree to fund the program.  The reason for this is because even though it may be good politics for them to threaten to defund the program and rant about fraud, it would be very bad politics to allow over 11 million Americans to face a major cut in their monthly disability check in an election year.

For example, in the last budgetary showdown, it was looking like every one of the 11 million Americans would be facing a 19 percent reduction in the last quarter of 2016, which is fast approaching, but that will not happen because the majority of Congress relented.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

How Did Disabilities Become a Partisan Issue?, September 21, 2016, By David A. Graham, The Atlantic

More Bog Entries:

Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 22, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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