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Social Security Disability in the news, Part 1

The recent drama over the so-called fiscal cliff shows how critics of federal programs such as Social Security Disability (SSD) try to demonize the beneficiaries of these programs. To listen to opponents of government benefits, one would think that SSD recipients are receiving large payments that allow them to live lavish lifestyles. The reality is quite different.

The average SSD monthly benefit paid to disabled workers is $1,111 as of June 2012. The 2011 poverty threshold for a single person under 65 was $11,702 and there was little change between 2011 and 2012 in the definition of poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In short, average recipients of SSD benefits receive around $600 more each year than people officially defined as poor. This is barely enough to live on, let alone enough to buy luxuries.

Despite these facts, opponents of Social Security and their allies flood the airwaves, the internet and print media with stories about the need to cut benefits and scale back programs. One news channel in particular, championed the efforts of many members of Congress to demonize both the SSD program and its beneficiaries. The main cause of problems in the SSD system, according to that channel, was President Obama. In our next blog, we'll tell you what the Congressional Budget Office says is the real problem.

Some of the fairy tale stories being broadcast these days :

•· Business reporter Charles Payne stated that a young man can walk into a Social Security office, claim he is mentally ill, and walk out with a "crazy check." He attributed this to President Obama's policies. In fact mental illness is probably the most difficult and time consuming disability to prove.

•· Increase in beneficiaries is due to Obamanomics: In October 2012, Eric Bolling claimed that the reason for the record number of SSD recipients was due to President Obama's economic policies. We'll give you the facts on that in our next posting.

•· Promotion of a culture of disability: Lou Dobbs stated that the Obama administration has "made dependency a watchword," and that this is the reason for the increase in SSD recipients. More nonsense.

Our next blog post will discuss why certain media outlets are wrong about SSD.

If you are a disabled worker seeking SSD benefits and are encountering roadblocks, do what many others have done. Call Binder & Binder, the national Social Security Disability advocates. Find out how we can help you.

Source: Media Matters, "Fox Obscures Important Facts To Attack Disability Benefits," Oct. 30, 2012.

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