NOSSCR Director Defends SSDI Applicants and Their Attorneys
In a recent commentary on The Hill’s Congress blog, Barbara Silverstone, the Executive Director of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), responded to recent political attacks in the media on SSDI applicants (see SSDI: The truth behind media and political mischaracterizations). In her commentary, Ms. Silverstone explains the recent increase in applications for Social Security Disability (SSD) and defends the rights of persons to apply for SSD and hire attorneys to help them through this difficult process.
As noted in the piece, about 60% of all applications for SSD are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA), so it is somewhat disingenuous to paint a picture of the government approving large numbers of people for SSD who aren’t really disabled. The SSA’s strict criteria require applicants to prove with medical evidence that they are not able to engage in “substantial gainful activity,” currently defined as being unable to earn over $1,070 per month.
As for the increase in SSD applicants, this fact is easily explained by the aging baby boomer population, which naturally will cause a rise in many age-related government programs. The increase in women entering the workforce is another factor which explains the increase in applications, without the need to resort to allegations of fraud or abuse of the system. Also, as Ms. Silverstone notes, the approval rate for applications has continued to decrease even as applications have increased, so that the current rate of approval is at its lowest point in 40 years.
The Hill is a Washington, D.C. newspaper written for and about Congress. NOSSCR is an organization of attorneys and advocates representing people with disabilities, in particular claimants for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI).