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Are the criteria for filing for disability benefits too lax?

The number of former workers seeking Social Security disability benefits has spiked with the nation's economic problems, heightening concern that the jobless are expanding the program beyond its intended purpose of aiding the disabled. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  September 14, 2010; 8:05 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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How can you have a survey on a subject that no one knows the facts about? No one knows what the federal criteria for determining disability eligibility are. So what you're really asking is "do you think people who get disability are scamming the taxpayers?" Completely irresponsible!

Posted by: dcle | September 14, 2010 9:31 AM

Not only are the rules too lax, enforcement is zero, the latest scams and doctors who perpetuate the scams are passed around like candy. Time to get back to the basics and get away from having to pay, not for those who truly need it, but the entitlement hounds who think that the government owes them a living off of my tax dollars.

Posted by: zendrell | September 14, 2010 9:46 AM

I am a social worker and many of my clients received SSI or SSDI. The chances of them being able to work is very slim. And, in the application process they must be certified disabled by the social security administration and by doctors. Many are denied. My clients are struggling to maintain housing and to eat. I have clients who desire to work, but their mental illness prevents them from employment that pays a living wage.

My siblings are profoundly handicapped. The disability payments that my family received was often the difference between getting bills paid and not.

And, the $674 that many people receive is not a stellar amount of money to be living off of.

The enforcement, contrary to ZENDRELL is quite high. I receive notifications of changes in payments constantly.

Please, get appropriate information. This is all public.

Posted by: mkelly001 | September 14, 2010 10:04 AM

I voted no. I've known a few people who applied and were denied, and I thought it was obvious that they should have been allowed disabled status. But I worked or lived with those people so I witnessed more than anyone could who does these kinds of evaluations, including their own doctors.

I would hate to need to apply for disability status in this country, because I've seen what a grueling and defeating, depressing, humiliating, frustrating process it is for others who had legitimate problems. It is dehumanizing to be constantly challenged as trying to manipulate the system. This is the first assumption, and one that is continuous throughout the process, that one is trying to cheat. When you have a genuine problem, that is just one more huge hurdle on top of all your other problems. It's not right that it should be this way. We need to come up with better ways to keep people (including scamming doctors) from taking advantage of the system without in the process punishing all of those who have legitimate problems.

Additionally, I think our medical professionals and government are in serious denial about the effects of many factors on the job, including long term stress, on health and one's ability to get or remain employed and to be productive. We have a long ways to go in learning to take care of ourselves and each other.

I find that people in general tend to only see obvious visible disabilities as true disabilities. But most disabilities I've seen those I cared about deal with were invisible to the casual observer, albeit they were genuine and life changing. You don't have to be in a wheelchair or need a guide dog to have a serious disability that effects employment.

The US overall has lost its compassion. Maybe that is in part the fault of the cheaters, those who work the system. They have given everyone who tries to use it a bad name. But in the course of challenging the cheaters we should not lose our compassion for those who genuinely need assistance. It's our responsibility as human beings who live in a society to care for each other. Most people who oppose social welfare would be appalled at what they have to go through if they ever need help.

Posted by: Tara12 | September 14, 2010 10:35 AM

I have injuries that include a fractured neck which was fused, herniated and bulging discs, a full thickness tear in my right rotator cuff and thoracic outlet syndrome in my left arm.It took years of trying before I finally had to hire a lawyer to get the case heard. The hearing took about a half hour, within a couple weeks the decision was rendered and I began getting disability payments.
If they are using the same process today then yes, it is tough enough. If they have changed rules since '94 then no, they should be more rigorous.
If it is easy to get disability benefits, why are there so many TV, radio, and print ads for disability lawyers?

Posted by: cashman57 | September 14, 2010 11:03 AM

Disability lawyers are in business to perform a service, which is part of a circle. The daisabled does not have the rights to due process without the financing of a disability lawyer. Most people file on their own the first time and is turned down; some do not reapply, others appeal without any legal help, and the ones usually approved have had not just a lawyer, but at least one doctor and a social security specialist. The system have become an arrangement of civil servants, officers of the court, and social workers causing the country economic strife.

Posted by: phjesuswarrior7 | September 14, 2010 1:48 PM

I was a caseworker for years and am familiar with the regs. I do not think the criteria are too loose or liberal, but rather the opposite. I have seen permanately diabled, terminal ill people denied benefits. People need to do their own research and draw their own conclsuions. There are attorneys who make comfortable incomes from defending people against the Social Security Administrations denials.

Posted by: R2And | September 14, 2010 6:09 PM

Applicant applies for SSI,is denied.Applicant hires an attorney who will receive 33% of lump-sum payment when applicant is approved on appeal.Attorneys hire physicians that would cheerfully state Venus Williams is 'physically disabled.' Neighbor down the street has 80% disability rating;he was re-roofing his house a few days ago after he mowed his lawn with a walk-behind mower.
The casinos in Mississippi legally cash SSI checks,including the so-called 'Crazy Check' received by children with 'ADHD'(sent to parent as payee).The locals know not to go to casinos around the first of the month-'Check Day.'

Posted by: VirchowsHarlot | September 15, 2010 7:22 AM

And, the $674 that many people receive is not a stellar amount of money to be living off of.
Posted by: mkelly001 | September 14, 2010 10:04 AM

You failed to factor in food stamps/Medicaid/Section 8 housing subsidy.
Three or four kids on SSI due to an ADHD 'diagnosis' is a decent chunk of change per month,with no hassle of getting out of bed and heading to work every day.

Posted by: VirchowsHarlot | September 15, 2010 7:27 AM

I've posted before on the related article and now I see this brainless survey. How can you run a survey on rules that you haven't posted? Eligibility criteria for SSI and SSDI take up a full CFR, so to expect an informed response is unrealistic.
To VIRCHOWSHARLOT in particular, I must point out that the other benefits mentioned are NOT automatically included with SSI or SSDI. they are different programs run by different agencies and have different qualifications. The observation that families in which a family member qualifies for more than one type of benefit, usually Medicaid, attests to the severity of the need. Your contempt for families who must meet the needs of a disabled family member out of the tiny benefit allowed, against which most types of income are counted, must mean that you have no direct experience of the subject. I hope someday that you will have direct experience of disability either for yourself or for a family member, so that you can be an example to us of how well you cope with it.

Posted by: jody43jody | September 18, 2010 1:56 PM

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