Maine Social Security Disability Lawyers at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein Comment on ’60 Minutes’ Report Critical of Disability System

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The SSDI attorneys in Maine say the segment unfairly depicts disabled applicants as being undeserving and even fraudulent.

While any system that handles millions of applications will have some attempted fraud, the reality is that the government has strict standards designed to weed out people who are not disabled.

Maine Social Security disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein today said a recent “60 Minutes” report left viewers with the false impression that an overwhelming number of dishonest people are gaming the system to obtain government disability benefits.

The ”60 Minutes” report, titled Disability, USA, which aired Oct. 6, presented other misconceptions about how the disability system works, about who is receiving benefits and why the program has been growing, the SSD attorneys in Maine said.

“We noticed that the ‘60 Minutes’ report about purported flaws of the system did not include comments from a single disabled person or disability advocate,” said Deborah L. Aronson, one of the lead Social Security disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein. “The report focused on Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma who has a history of being hostile toward the disability program, and presented no other opposing point of view.”

Aronson said the “60 Minutes” report made it seem as if a vast number of healthy people who can actually work are applying for and receiving disability benefits.

“While any system that handles millions of applications will have some attempted fraud, the reality is that the government has strict standards designed to weed out people who are not disabled,” said Aronson. “The standards are so tight that many people with legitimate disabilities are turned away.”

Aronson said she disagreed with suggestions in the “60 Minutes” report that it is easy to obtain benefits. “In fact, about two-thirds of all initial applications are denied. About 10 percent of the applicants who are denied end up receiving benefits on appeal,” Aronson said. “In total, about 41 percent of all applicants will receive benefits. And they certainly aren’t getting rich. They receive about $1,130 per month.”

Aronson said disabled people whose applications are denied often turn to disability attorneys who can help them with an appeal in the face of tight standards.

Henri A. Benoit II, another disability attorney at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, said the “60 Minutes” report might hurt struggling disabled people by making it easier for legislators to dismantle the program and by generating more skepticism among judges.

The disability program has steadily grown since 1980 because an aging baby boomer generation means more and more older people are facing complicated health issues, Benoit said. He added that growth also is linked to the entry into the workforce of more women who are getting Social Security coverage for the first time. The attorney said the bad economy is another factor. Disabled people have fewer opportunities to take jobs they are physically able to handle such as a desk job. They might need to apply for disability because their physical condition prevents them from taking a laborer position, which might be the only job available in a bad economy, Benoit said.

“When phrases like ‘secret welfare system’ and ‘ravaged by waste and fraud’ are used in a popular TV news broadcast to describe the Social Security Disability Insurance program, it makes it that much easier to pull the plug on the disability program,” Benoit said. “Sadly, the program is underfunded and stands to run out of money completely by 2016. Legislators should be thinking of how to properly fund the program instead of how to end it.”

About the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein

Since 1974, attorney Joe Bornstein and his experienced legal team have obtained over $200 million in compensation and disability benefits for injured and disabled Mainers in Portland, Bangor, Augusta, and throughout the state. In addition to helping Maine residents with their Social Security disability claims, Bornstein and his team of over 70 experienced legal professionals hear cases on behalf of the victims of medical malpractice, car and truck accidents, dangerous drugs, defective products, slip and fall accidents, and many other types of personal injuries. Bornstein and his staff have a well-earned reputation as one of Maine’s best-known and successful law firms who have helped over 20,000 clients obtain compensation in their injury and disability claims.

If you are looking for help with your Social Security disability claim in Maine, contact the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein at 1-877-294-6813 for a free case evaluation.

Joe Bornstein’s law offices, which are wheelchair-accessible, are located in Portland, Sanford, Biddeford, Lewiston, Augusta, and Bangor. The main office for the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein is located at 5 Moulton St., Portland, ME 04101. Visit http://www.joebornstein.com for more information.

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