Monday, March 27, 2017

Should Social Security (and Social Security Disability) Be Privatized?

No. This is one of the dumbest ideas imaginable. Why?

1. Stock market crash of 1987.
2. Stock market crash of 2000-2002.
3. Stock market crash of 2008-2009.


Why does this question resurface now and then? Think about who promotes it. Wall Street does, because they can skim from it, just like they did with the rise of 401(k)s which, compared to traditional retirements, are a disaster. Conservative politicians who don't even think Social Security should exist in the first place also are in favor of privatization.

Put simply: bad idea; stupid idea.



Here's the article: Dumb idea.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Eight thousand people died waiting for a disability hearing in 2016

People die waiting for a disability hearing (while Congress and the White House debate cutting it further)

I have to admit I am a bit surprised to read this article in the Washington Times, a conservative leaning paper. Very often, such papers facilitate attacks on the disability system. Here are some quotes from the article. “The situation is really bad for the claimants right now. . The bottom line is inadequate funding of Social Security,” said Lisa Ekman, director of governmental affairs for the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. It is an association of attorneys representing people with disabilities.

“Eight thousand people died during fiscal year 2016 who were waiting for a (disability) hearing,” Ekman said. “That’s 23 people a day, almost one an hour to get a hearing. . We see people who lose their homes. We see people who are evicted. We see people who can’t afford to pay for medications, who become very debilitated while they wait. It creates people who are homeless.”

"The problem: An overwhelming number of applications for disability - about 2.3 million in 2016, up from 1.7 million in 2002 but down from a peak in 2010 - flow into a system in which 77 percent of initial claims have, over the last decade, been denied. Moreover, the backlog of decisions on first-time claims is massive."

None of this is new, of course. What is new is that we have a new administration that seems very willing to join in on the attacks to the disability system.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump Administration taking clear aim at cutting Social Security Disability

If you thought Donald Trump wasn't planning to make an attack on Social Security Disability (remember: he promised never to touch Social Security and SSD is part of that), think again. And if you think this is "fake news", watch the video clip of Trump's budget director speaking.

This Post article quotes his own budget director. Three of the most salient excerpts are:

1. "Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney finally acknowledged on Sunday that Trump may in fact violate his campaign promises to protect the two programs — by taking aim at the Social Security program that helps the disabled.

2. "Mulvaney replied by pivoting to the specific issue of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program administered by the Social Security Administration that aids disabled Americans. He complained about the program’s cost and indicated that the administration wants to alter it."

3. “Let me ask you a question, do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don’t think so,” he said, with a slight grin on his face. “It’s the fastest growing program. It was — it grew tremendously under President Obama. It’s a very wasteful program and we want to try and fix that.”

The truth? Here's the truth: "It is hardly an easy program to enroll in — the Social Security Administration rejects a majority of those who apply for disability payments. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities notes that fewer than 400 of 1,000 initial applications for approval are accepted."

Not only that, of course; applying and appealing denials often takes years. During which time people go bankrupt. Lose their homes. A billionaire with his cabinet of billionaires wouldn't know much about that, of course.

Here's the article: Social Security Disability cuts.





I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Trump Admin plans cuts to program that helps with home heating

LIHEAP. It stands for "low income home energy assistance program". It's hard for me to believe that the new administration actually thinks its ok to cut this program. I mean, where are their brains? 6 Million people get heating assistance from LIHEAP which the Trump administration plans to cut.



Before I became a disability claims examiner, I was a case worker for two separate departments of social services. LIHEAP (oddly, pronounced lee-app) was a program that helped people who couldn't afford to pay their hearing bill (perhaps they had had a medical emergency, or some giant bill had come their way, or they had become unemployed due, or become disabled and unable to work) to pay that bill. It was a one-time assistance thing. So, a person only got help once during the winter. That's hardly a govt handout program. It was really just compassionate assistance and the sort of thing we should expect from our government and the, frankly, idiots we send to high office. It was a program that helped many people avoid freezing and most likely saved lives. And they want to cut this program.

"Among the many federal programs slated for elimination in Donald Trump's budget is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), a Health and Human Services Department initiative that provides close to 6 million low-income households with help for their heating and cooling bills."

Here's the article: Trump cuts to LIHEAP.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Meals on Wheels cuts in one county = 32,000 fewer meals



Meals on Wheels budget cuts amount to 32,000 fewer meals in one county alone. Meals on Wheels, the national nonprofit that provides food for the homebound elderly.

"In Collin County, where the population of senior citizens has ballooned, Meals on Wheels will serve over 250,000 meals in 2017."

This is a good example of what happens when you have a cabinet composed almost entirely of multi-millionaires and billionaires. They have no connection to the needs of ordinary citizens and certainly not to the poor, disabled, and elderly.

Here's the article: Meals on wheels cuts.



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.







Congress wants to cut Social Security Disability



These Congress members referenced in this article want to cut Social Security Disability benefits. This is not surprising since I've been watching these types of attacks on the disability system since the early 2000s.

How are they attacking? Here's how: in the current system, if you prove you are disabled, the assumption is made that you may never work again at a substantial and gainful level. That's because to get disability in the first place you have to have very strong medical evidence. Its not an easy thing to win. Even so, your claim does get reviewed every few years to see if you have experienced medical improvement. If you have improved, you may be taken off benefits. That usually doesn't happen, of course, because most people who get awarded disability never improve that much. That's because they were legitimately found disabled in the first place

HOWEVER, these politicians have the notion that disability tends to be a "temporary thing" and that "people are being held back by being given disability".

WOW. Not surprised, of course. Their "fix" is that people should be given TIME-LIMITED BENEFITS. That's right. Benefits that last only a while before you have to APPLY ALL OVER AGAIN. Anyone who ever spent months or years trying to get benefits won know that everything these politicians are saying is totally out of touch with reality. Basically a lie.

Here's the article: Congress wants to cut Social Security Disability



I am a former disability examiner and I publish the website Social Security Disability Resource Center, or SSDRC for short. I also maintain a facebook page for SSDRC (Social Security Disability Blog).

Archives for this blog.

Neither this blog, nor the facebook page, nor my website are affiliated with the Social Security Administration.