Although Congressional opponents of so-called "entitlement" programs have made a lot of noise about the alleged failings of the Social Security Disability program, there has been pushback. It comes from people who actually know something about the disability insurance program that pays very modest benefits to almost 11 million workers.
One of the reasons that Congressional opponents have been somewhat successful in their efforts to demonize the program and its beneficiaries is their reliance on myths about the program. Taking a good look at the myths removes the mystery and reveals the truth about the program and those who benefit from it.
Myth #1: It's easy to get on SSD - easier than working. Not true: For your claim for SSD benefits to be approved, you must fill out many forms, be examined by a doctor, assemble a dossier of records, and then start the process all over again when your claim is denied and you have to appeal.
Myth #2: Everyone who applies for SSD is approved. Not true: Nearly 60 percent of applicants are turned down. And many of the 40 percent who are ultimately approved have to appeal after being initially turned down.
Myth #3: The guidelines for acceptance are very lax -- SSD will accept anyone. Not true: The US disability insurance program is much stricter than the programs of all European countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says that only Korea is less generous than the United States.
Myth #4: People who receive SSD are faking it and are not really sick. Not true: It's not that easy to fake a disability, given the scrutiny given to every claim. Furthermore, if beneficiaries of the program were faking their disability, why would SSD recipients as a whole have such a high death rate compared to the general population?
Myth #5: The reason the SSD program is in trouble is the large number of fraudulent claims. Not true: By most estimates, SSD fraud is less than one percent. Many other government benefits programs, such as those operated by the Small Business Administration, have much higher rates of fraud.
Debunking these myths shows that the situation is not as dire as critics would have us believe. However, common-sense changes, such as the reallocation of funds between the old age pension and the disability fund, will ensure the viability of the program and allow it to pay full benefits to the disabled for many years to come.
Most of the attacks on Social Security Disability are part of a broader campaign to reduce or eliminate all types of benefit programs. However, it is difficult to envision that the program will disappear entirely. Consequently, obtaining Social Security Disability benefits will continue to be difficult. It is important to get help with your claim to eliminate potential problems that could slow your approval. Call the SSD advocates at Binder & Binder to learn what they can do to help you obtain the benefits you need and deserve.