As you are likely aware if you have found your way to our blog, The Advocator Group is a Social Security and Medicare advocacy organization. Our core mission is to help preserve or improve the financial well being of our clients by helping them obtain Social Security Disability Insurance benefits as quickly as possible. Ultimately, this allows our clients to refocus their time and energy on getting better, rather than on the complex and frustrating SSDI application and appeals process.
While we typically demonstrate our advocacy by providing professional representation in the rigorous process associated with obtaining SSDI benefits, we wanted to take a moment to advocate for our clients, and all severely disabled workers, in a different, but equally important way.
This week, NPR’s Planet Money published a story entitled “Unfit for Work – The startling rise of disability in America.” Since it was released, the story has created quite a buzz on the web and within the disability industry. While the story sheds light on important issues related to the growth of the SSDI program and the individuals who rely on its benefits, it also ignores important details about how the program works and relies on over-generalizations about its beneficiaries to reach its ultimate conclusion. As a result, a typical reader with little knowledge of the Social Security Disability program could easily walk away with an inaccurate view of the program and an undeservingly negative perception of the hard working Americans who rely on it for monthly income and financial security.
The SSDI program is an “insurance” program, not a “welfare” program. It is an insurance program that we each pay taxes into throughout our working lives in order to ensure that if we become disabled and unable to work, we will have access to a vital safety net that will provide us with a minimal amount of financial security. And the financial benefits really are minimal for the majority of beneficiaries – on average, an individual’s monthly SSDI benefit is only equal to about half of what they were earning while gainfully employed. (more…)