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Criticisms of SSD program perhaps better aimed at Capitol Hill

Virtually no one who has ever applied for federal disability benefits will say that the process efficiently promoted a just outcome within a reasonable period.

Indeed, Social Security Disability applicants know that the SSD process can be a long and arduous slog, especially for claimants who do not timely secure the knowledgeable and focused assistance of an experienced disability attorney.

In addition to the complexity and inherent inefficiencies that seem to centrally mark the program, SSD regularly suffers from critics -- most often politicians seeking to curry favor with their constituents -- who pillory it for alleged failings and consistently seek to shrink the program.

That is beyond unfortunate. Indeed, it is both a tragedy and a travesty, given that the program’s effectiveness is closely tied to the support it receives from Congress and the White House.

Some legislators seem to view the SSD program as an especially convenient target for barbs these days, alleging that it is rife with waste and fraud.

That is a disingenuous claim, given that the chief underlying causes leading to a backlog in the program and other alleged failings can be traced easily enough to Capitol Hill. It is an incontrovertible fact that the Social Security Administration has lost many thousands of employees in recent years. Moreover, it seems truly puzzling -- even flatly disturbing -- that Congress hasn’t made appropriations to adequately administer SSD claims, even though legislators have long noted the logical increase in applicants from prior decades.

Arguably, there seems nothing inherently wrong with the SSD program at all. The fault seems more logically directed toward legislators who deride the program for political purposes and do little or nothing to ensure its vital support for disabled Americans who truly need it.

A final point certainly bears noting here. Disability applicants are not seeking handouts. Indeed, persons who have not worked for years and faithfully contributed to the program through payroll taxes aren’t even eligible to apply for benefits.

It seems that those who seek to criticize and undermine the program need to be occasionally reminded of that fact.

Source: The Oklahoman, "Disability reviews won't save Social Security program from shortfall, official says," Chris Casteel, Aprill 10, 2014

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