Senator Rand Paul Asks for Help on Social Security Disability Budget Issue

With GOP presidential candidates trying to get ahead in the polls and eventually attain the party’s nomination, many are trying to shape themselves as fiscal hawks, to use the term favored by many cable news pundits.

congress.jpgOne of the main ways to seem like a fiscal hawk is to speak out about how Congress needs to get rid of “entitlements” in this country. Unfortunately, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program falls into the category of entitlements, as defined by those who want to get rid of the system.

In reality, as our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance benefits attorneys are all too aware, the program is not an entitlement that must be done away with, but rather a much needed lifeline for over 9 million disabled Americans who rely upon these benefits to take care of themselves and their families and to make ends meet each month. Not only that, it is a program these claimants have paid into during their entire working lives and, only after suffering a severe disability making them no longer able to work, apply for benefits funded by the same money they paid in Social Security taxes all those years of employment.

Senator Rand Paul has made no attempt his hide intent to run for the office of President, nor has he made any attempt to his hide his opinion that the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs are entitlements to which lazy people take advantage, so they can stay home instead of going to work.

However, simply taking away benefits from nearly 10 million people, many of whom are registered voters, is not necessarily a politically smart decision in an election cycle, so he has taken to asking for help from organizations that support the disabled, according to a recent news article from Bloomberg.

To put the crisis in context, if funding is not allocated soon, by late 2016, the program will not be able to pay nearly 20 percent of its claims, leaving Social Security Administration (SSA) little choice but to cut every claimant’s benefits by nearly 20 percent each month.

Specifically, Paul is asking disability advocates to work with lawmakers on ways to reduce costs and thus lower the agency’s annual budgetary requirements. Paul’s plan is to get advocates to stop asking for more money for the disability budget and come up with ways to make the system more efficient. One of his ways of doing this is to have doctors who had not had any contact with the patient make recommendations as to a claimant’s disability, rather than treating physicians, so they are more likely operate with “objectivity.”

However, it is hard to see how a patient’s treating physician, who has first hand knowledge of how a claimant is affected by his or her disability, is not in the best place to express an opinion, especially when the agency has doctors of its own who are there to counter a treating doctor’s opinion when necessary. This seems like a thinly veiled attempt to have doctors paid by SSA routinely deny claimants’ requests for disability benefits without even having to examine the patient. It also seems as if he is calling many doctors’ professionalism and ethical obligations in question, and then arguing this is preferred, because it will safe the agency money.

If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:
Rand Paul: Advocates for the Disabled Should Help Brainstorm Ways to Cut Social Security Spending , May 12, 2015, Bloomberg
More Blog Entries:

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

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