Wednesday, January 28, 2009

President Obama and Social Security Disability

I found these snippets referenced on Attorney Charles Hall's blog. They are from a letter written in October of last year by then-candidate Barack Obama to the AFGE, or American Federation of Government Employees (of which my spouse is both a member and a representative of).

1. "First, I strongly agree with you that there is a critical need to increase funding for the SSA administrative expenses account to address the serious challenges facing the agency."

If the foes of the big bad boogey man a.k.a. "big government" haven't launched an attack on that statement by now, they certainly will at some point. However, let's consider the very immediate past: a massive bailout of fatcat financial interests. Big government? We've had it for quite some time. Under the prior administration, spending mushroomed like a H-bomb (arguably more power than a google bomb) cloud.

2. "Due to prolonged underfunding, SSA has reduced staffing levels even as its workload has increased. SSA agency staffing will soon reach its lowest level since 1972 even though SSA's beneficiary population has nearly doubled since that time."

Bingo!!!!! If you look at staffing levels, you see that though the social security administration's workload has increased significantly. How could it not as the percentage of retirement and disability claimants has risen as much as it has (also, since my wife, also a former disability examiner, is a field office claims rep, I get a certain tuned-in perspective to how screwed up things really are).

3. "As of August 2008, about 767,000 people were awaiting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge on their Social Security disability claims, compared to about 312,000 cases pending in October 2000."

Now, isn't that enough to turn your stomach? It does mine. And this degradation of the social security disability system occurred during one white house administration.

It's very clear to me that the priorities of the last administration were wrong. The retirement and disability system that most of us will, at some point, need to rely on was allowed to degrade while wall street financiers were allowed to pursue practices that lined their pockets, leading to a massive bailout at the expense of current and future generations of american taxpayers.

Will the Obama adminisration fix things? Who can say. Those who go to Washington are typically big on promises and little else. However, it is a bright point that the current administration will at least own up to reality and, perhaps, consider more responsibly the needs of Americans who are elderly, disabled, or both.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Qualifying for Disability - How to Qualify for Benefits
What's so hard about Filing for Disability
Appeals for Social Security Disability - Disability Appeals Process
How can I Win my Social Security Disability Case Without Going to a Hearing?



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