Does Social Security Disability need reform?

Some lawmakers are calling for reform of the Social Security Disability program to help avoid insolvency by next year.

Tennessee residents know that the nation's Social Security Disability program offers them a valuable form of assistance if they become unable to work due to a serious illness or other disabling injury. A group of lawmakers in Congress are working for reform of this program. According to a report on Alternet.org, the group consists largely of representatives who believe that false injuries or disabilities are creating a problem with fraudulent claims. This, in turn, is eating up funds from the program and could leave it in a financial crisis.

With a potential funds reallocation available, these lawmakers indicate they will only be willing to approve such a measure if overall reform is agreed upon. The belief they jointly hold is that many people, especially those in low-wage jobs, are choosing to utilize disability as their income source than to seek employment.

How widespread is this belief?

The concerns about an abused SSD program are not shared only by select lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Bloomberg Business notes that many financial and industry experts share the view. They cite statistics that illustrate a dramatic rise in the number of SSDI claims especially during economically difficult times.

According to sources, while conditions such as cancer or heart disease topped the lists of common reasons for disability claims in the 1970's, today's claims are commonly for mental health issues or conditions like chronic back pain. Some people are asserting that these conditions do not always preclude employment which means that the accompanying disability claims should not be granted.

On the other side of the argument, however, facts are brought to bear that illustrate more and more people claiming disability are older as the nation in general ages. By nature, this can increase the number of people who are legitimately injured. Additionally, as more people suffer with conditions such as obesity, disabling physical or mental conditions do arise.

How do people claim SSDI?

When a person becomes disabled and need disability benefits, an initial claim must be made. Detailed medical information is required. So too is sufficient employment history to qualify for the benefits as SSDI is based upon the social security taxes each person has paid thus far.

Appeals can be made for denied claims. This can happen if medical information is insufficient or for other non-medical purposes.

What should workers do?

When a person who previously has been able to work is no longer able to do so, help is needed. Talking to a lawyer at this time is a wise thing to do.

Keywords: Social Security, disability, benefits