Saturday, September 15, 2012

Social Security Disability Runs Amuck!

Social Security is so overwhelmed by disability claims that some officials are awarding benefits with little review of the applications. People making bogus claims are bilking the American public out of billions of dollars, this is adding to the program's financial problems as it edges closer to the brink of insolvency. Congressional investigators say in a new report that in more than a quarter of the 300 cases reviewed decisions to award benefits "failed to properly address insufficient, contradictory or incomplete evidence." In many cases, officials approved disability benefits without citing adequate medical evidence or without explaining the medical basis for the decision.

The judges are expected to rule on at least 500 cases a year, with one judge deciding an average of 1,800 cases a year for three straight years, the report said. It appeared that administrative law judges struggling to reduce backlogs didn't take the time to review all the evidence, the report said. "The administrative law judges are not looking at the cases because the pressure from Social Security is to get the cases out," said Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the subcommittee. "I think you could flip a coin for anybody that came before the Social Security commission for disability and get it right just as often as the (judges) do."

Social Security has been working for years to reduce a huge backlog of disability claims. A spokesman said, "We share the subcommittee's concern that a small number of judges have failed our expectations with regard to a balanced application of the law, proper documentation, proper hearings and proper judicial conduct." He added, "We recognize the need for further improvement and are working hard toward that goal." This flood of applications has strained the disability program's already troubled finances. Disability claims have increased during the great recession because many people who worked despite their disabilities have lost their jobs.

Social Security's disability trust fund will run out of money in 2016 without congressional action, and leave the program unable to pay full benefits. According to the trustees who oversee the program, they are asking  Congress to shore up the disability system by reallocating money from the retirement program just as they did in 1994. This however would further weaken the retirement system which already is due to become insolvent. Take this as another red flag, this again shows how government bureaucrats fail to get the job done. Hard working Americans should be outraged, as they watch those to lazy to work or just wanting "a little extra money" waiting by the mailbox to get "paid".

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