Friday, February 10, 2012

Talk about massaging the data: Social Security Disability claims swelling in recession. Another unspported speculation that disability claims are increasing because people are using Social Security as a fallback when their unemployment ends.

Let me tell you why this is bunkum. I have been doing Social Security Disability and SSI work for almost 20 years. Never have I found it easy or routine to get disability approved. It is a multi-step, time-consuming process. The system is somewhat weighted against younger people -- i.e., in their prime working years -- which makes it even harder to get approved. Based on our experience, it is just completely fallacious to think that people can easily or routinely jump right into Social Security Disability if they're otherwise unemployed. It just doesn't work that way.

What makes me so sure? Just the time factor alone. Let's say you lost your job, and your unemployment is set to run out next month. It's not like you can just submit an application, be approved , and be in line for Social Security payments within a month or two. I just finished up a Social Security claim; it lasted five years. And my client was denied benefits.

Here's the other inconsistency about this trash talk. If you are on unemployment, you must certify that you are ready, willing and able to work. To apply for Social Security Disability, you must certify that you are unable to work. The two conditions, of course, are mutually exclusive.

To get Social Security Disability in Knoxville or anywhere else for that matter, you must actually have a disabling condition. I just do not believe that the Social Security administrative law judges would overlook that little detail to give charity to undeserving disability claimants. People who want to destroy the Social Security system can manipulate statistics all they want; we see what's happening on the ground, client by client, and year by year.

This type of editorial strikes me as more propaganda by those who have, aiming to -- again -- stick it to those who those who have not. Do not be fooled into believing that we need to make it harder to get what is already very difficult to obtain. If we let that happen, then we go from merely very difficult to essentially impossible (to get disability benefits). And believe me: it won't be USA Today's editors, or all these financially comfortable pundits who end up suffering when regular people find that one more government program that actually does some good has been ripped to shreds.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Cops: Dad was DUI when he came to pick son up for DUI. Like father, like son?