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Mixed Message on SSD Anniversary

On August 1, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Social Security Amendment Act into law. This piece of legislation established Social Security Disability (SSD). In recognition of this anniversary, the congressional committee chairs issued a statement.

In the statement, Republicans Dave Camp and Sam Johnson called SSD an "important safety net." However, they also used the anniversary statement as an opportunity to sound the alarm about the alleged need for reductions in benefits in the near future.

Underlying the Congressmen's statement is the clear assumption that SSD payments are too generous, even though most recipients of SSD benefits receive less than $12,000, an amount that puts recipients at or below the poverty level in many parts of the country. The belief that the disabled are somehow living large as a result of receiving SSD benefits is clearly not based in fact. That, however, has never bothered foes of what they like to call "entitlement programs."

One thing that seems to be missing from opponents' calculations and claims is that beneficiaries of SSD paid into the system for a prescribed number of years before they became eligible for disability benefits. In their anniversary statement, Camp and Johnson talked about the "hard -earned taxpayer dollars supporting the program." This is misleading at best - SSD, like old-age pensions and Medicare, is supported by all workers for the benefit of all.

Earlier blog posts have referred to other opponents of SSD. It remains to be seen whether these opponents succeed in reducing disability benefits and changing eligibility rules. However, in the meantime, obtaining the benefits that currently exist continues to be challenging. Social Security has a backlog, and most initial claims are denied. Applicants often turn to an attorney or advocate for help navigating the system to obtain deserved benefits. At Binder & Binder®, the national Social Security Disability advocates, we help the disabled do just that. Clients know they can rely on us.

Source: Committee on Ways and Means, "Camp, Johnson Statement on 56th Anniversary of Social Security Disability Insurance," Aug. 1, 2012.

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