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NOSSCR Director Explains Growth in SSDI Claimants

Social Security Disability

Last August, the Executive Director of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), Barbara Silverstone, had a commentary published in The Hill’s Congress blog (SSDI: The truth behind media and political mischaracterizations). Her commentary is an excellent explanation of the Social Security Disability process and a defense of the need for the program.

The commentary addressed the increase in applicants for Social Security Disability (SSD), an increase which has been mischaracterized in the media and political forums, according to the post. The growth in applicants has long been naturally expected due to the aging of the baby boomer population and the larger number of women entering the workforce. Moreover, at the same time that applications have increased, the rate of approval for applications has decreased, in fact to its lowest point in 40 years.

A popular misconception is that the government approves benefits for people who are not really disabled, when well over half of all applications for SSD are turned down. The Social Security Administration (SSA) continues to apply very strict criteria when reviewing applications for benefits, requiring people to provide medical evidence that they are unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity,” which is currently interpreted as being unable to earn more than $1,070 a month. It’s easy for a politician to make a quotable sound bite that people are receiving SSD when they are not really disabled, but Congressional investigations have yet to turn up any such evidence.

The Hill is a Washington, D.C. newspaper devoted to topics of interest for and about Congress. NOSSCR is a bar association for attorneys and advocates who represent people with disabilities, in particular claimants for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI).

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