To suggest that the SSD program in particular is rife with fraud, and that many people receiving benefits are liars and thieves, isn’t just factually wrong – it’s grossly offensive.
San Antonio, TX (PRWEB) October 31, 2013
Heard & Smith, a national disability law firm that concentrates on the disabled and the injured, is joining a growing number of firms, organizations and individuals across the country in criticizing a recent 60 Minutes story on social security disability (SSD) beneficiaries.
The 60 Minutes story, which aired on October 6, 2013, centered on the notion that many SSD recipients do not deserve their award, and are robbing taxpayers by exploiting a “secret welfare system” that is “ravaged by waste and fraud.”
The story also suggested that the reason the number of people receiving SSD benefits has increased to 12 million over the last six years is largely the result of false or exaggerated claims. It’s an assertion that Joshua C. Eyestone, one of the experienced SSD lawyers in Heard & Smith’s Social Security Disability practice group, says is simply without merit.
“In any program, whether administered by the government or private sector, there are always going to be some people who try and game the system,” commented Mr. Eyestone. “However, to suggest that the SSD program in particular is rife with fraud, and that many people receiving benefits are liars and thieves, isn’t just factually wrong – it’s grossly offensive. Along with my Heard & Smith colleagues across the country, I work with individuals and families every day who are seeking the compensation to which they’re legally entitled. Take it from me: these people are the furthest thing imaginable from the con artist profile suggested in the 60 Minutes story. These people are honest, fair and categorically deserving of their benefits.”
Mr. Eyestone also referenced a noteworthy article by Los Angeles Times reporter and writer Michael Hiltzik that called 60 Minutes’ story an “attack on the disabled” and “shameful,” and further de-bunked many of the assertions made, including:
- The number of SSD benefits hasn’t risen to 12 million over the last six years -- the number is closer to 11 million, of which nearly 9 million are disabled workers, and about 2 million are their children and other family members.
- While SSD benefit rolls have increased over the last three decades, this is to be expected since the population of people aged 20-64 has increased more than 40% in the same period.
- America’s aging population – which is driving up the incidence of disability by nearly 40% -- is also, predictably, increasing the overall number of SSD beneficiaries.
- During periods of high unemployment, disabled individuals are disproportionately affected vs. compared to their able-bodied counterparts, since there are fewer opportunities available to them -- which means they’re obliged, against their preference and choice, to seek SSD benefits.
Added Mr. Eyestone: “Mr. Hiltzik also noted -- and I am in total agreement -- that the suggestion that it’s somehow easy to get SSD benefits is a total myth. In fact, I’d argue that it’s much tougher now than at any time in the past, since the majority of applicants are rejected, and only about 10% of those will win on an appeal. How a program where roughly 6 in 10 applicants don’t receive a cent can be called a `secret welfare system’ is beyond me.
Given 60 Minutes’ longstanding reputation for being a responsible, credible and almost relentlessly anti-sensational news program, I can only hope that they take all of this criticism to heart, and produce a follow-up story that paints a different, and true, picture of what the overwhelming majority of SSD benefices are really like: honest, fair and deserving.”
Individuals who wish to learn more about SSD benefits can visit the Social Security Disability section of Heard & Smith’s website at http://www.heardandsmith.com/ssdi_ssi.html, which contains helpful articles, a glossary of SSD terms, SSD FAQs, links to additional SSD resources and more. Access to the section is free, and no sign-up is required.
For more information, contact Joshua C. Eyestone at jeyestone(at)heardandsmith(dot)com or 210-820-3737.
About Heard & Smith L.L.P.
Heard & Smith helps thousands of clients each year get the disability benefits they are entitled to. The national disability law practice group at Heard & Smith represents deserving clients in all 50 states. Heard & Smith specializes in representing the disabled in Social Security Disability (SSD), and Veterans (VA) Disability matters.
Learn more at http://www.heardandsmith.com/