Monday, August 27, 2007



Social Security Disability SSI plan bites the dust

North Carolina Disability Attorney Charles Hall recently made a post titled "DSI being suspended" (link to the post: DSI being suspended).

What is DSI? Well, it is, or was, an initiative born out of the tenure of the former commissioner of the social security administration, Joanne Barnhart.

DSI had lofty goals as did Ms. Barnhart's other failed initiative, HPI (this was the one that really screwed up operations within each and every social security disability hearing office). However, anyone who has ever worked on disability claims in a processing sense could smell this one right away. And it didn't smell right at all.

Luckily, as Hall reports in his post, this program is apparently being suspended. Which validates my own crystal ball skills, of course, since I've only predicted on about thirty different posts that this vanity program of the former commissioner would inevitably bite the dust.

What is the solution to a social security disability system that does not work, that makes tens of thousands of bad decisions, that forces people to enter a disability appeals system that is so long and arduous that many people file bankruptcy and lose their homes while waiting for a just resolution?

Many conservatives belch at the kind of answer I'm about to give. But in this case, there is only one answer: the fix is that you throw money at the problem. Not money to fund some stupid moronic study or analysis. Not money to create some new and stupid program (which DSI was and suspending it, according to Hall, saves nearly a billion over the next ten years).

But---drumroll please---money to hire enough people within the social security administration to get the work done (processing disability claims and handling disability appeals in a timely fashion), and eliminate the backlogs. And this includes claims reps (who work at social security offices), disability examiners (who work at DDS), and judges and hearing office support staff (who work, obviously, at hearing offices).






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Disability in the Various States:

Virginia Disability
Washington Disability
Massachusetts Disability
Indiana Disability