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Don’t let misplaced criticisms against SSD program dissuade you from applying

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal delivered a message that more Americans need to hear during a time when the Social Security Administration has been taking a lot of heat for its handling of the disability program. That message is pretty simple: critics of the program are barking up the wrong tree in attempting to determine the cause of the program’s financial challenges.

While many conservative politicians feel that widespread fraud and easy requirements are major reasons for the two-year prognosis on the disability program’s trust fund, the situation is actually more complicated than that. While fraud is a problem that needs to be addressed by the Social Security Administration, the incidence of SSDI fraud is not nearly as high as many critics would have us believe.Â

In terms of the requirements for receiving disability income, applicants don’t have it easy. In order to be deemed disabled, one must earn a very low monthly income and meet strict medical requirements for given conditions. Those who qualify for SSDI are those who expect their condition to last at least one year or to eventually die from it.

At least some of the misplaced criticism against the Social Security disability program stems from the fact that many people—politicians included—don’t seem to grasp that the program is not welfare, but social insurance. The distinction is that those who receive payments from SSDI have paid into the system over a number of years. Beneficiaries of SSDI have therefore earned their coverage.

Those who feel they may qualify for SSDI should not let misplaced political attacks to dissuade them from looking into applying. Doing so with the help of an experienced attorney can be a benefit, particularly if an appeal becomes necessary.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Social Security’s Strict Disability Rules,” Jennifer Waters, September 20, 2014.Â

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