Media Bashing of Disability Programs is Far From the Truth

Joe Di Bartolomeo
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Joe Di Bartolomeo is a top rated personal injury lawyer helping Oregon and Washington families

A recent 60 Minutes broadcast is garnering strong criticism for its accusation that Social Security is a “secret welfare system” with its own “disability industrial complex,” and is simply out of control because it is “ravaged by waste and fraud.” Critics point out that the disability insurance program is strict, and denies farm any more than it accepts. Granted, this program requires some congressional fixing to stay at full solvency. Other critics point out that accusations of increased recipients ignores the simple demographics of an aging baby-boomer population, and increased numbers of women joining the work force in recent decades.

A few months ago, NPR ran a series on the disability program, and although producers stood by the report after massive criticism, there were several clarifications made.

I often hear people, including clients, tell me that “so and so” down the street is on disability, and has no business getting a check every month. I do not know the basis of that opinion, but suspect it has a lot to do with not knowing the definition of “disability” under this system. This does not mean the disability insurance system is absent of fraud, but I see many deserving, hard working people not getting the insurance benefit they paid into for decades. This is often due in large part to the simple lack of access to health care, which generates medical records, which proves disability.

Take a look at what a claimant must go through to appeal their case.  Someone should report on this!

I recall watching 60 Minutes with my family every Sunday night as a kid.  What a great show. However, the simple fact is that this television program sells advertising, and sometimes resorts to exploiting stereotypes, regardless of whether they are based in fact or myth.  So many channels to compete with I guess.

"Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see." -Benjamin Franklin


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