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Appearing on the PBS show, McCuistion TV to discuss the growing challenge with disability benefits are:

Host, Dennis McCuistion, joined by:
• Carl Weisbrod, JD – Past President: National Organization of Social Security Claimants
• Pamela Villarreal, PhD – Economist, Senior Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis

The Social Security program includes a provision for disability benefits but increasing costs and rising claim numbers are taxing the system.  Does the bad economy and high jobless rate have any connection to the rise in disability claims?

Left to Right: Pamela Villarreal, Dennis McCuistion and Carl Weisbrod

There is a real problem with increasing costs that are rising faster than deposits being made into the SSA program.  There is also a severe need for reform and better checks and balances.

As our population ages, disability claims increase.  However, the aging population is not the only reason claims are on the rise.   Dr. Villarreal points out that changes made to disability rules in the 80’s have made it easier for individuals to be approved for benefits. Back pain and mental disorders are the largest growing diagnoses that are being approved for benefits.

Mr. Weisbrod points out that the process for qualifying is still very difficult and is best guided by an experienced attorney.  The criteria for approval is extremely strict and just having a doctor’s diagnosis is not sufficient.  There must be consistent  medical evidence (i.e., what’s in the medical record) not just what the doctor says on a form or Interrogatories. SSA reviews lab tests, x-ray and MRI reports and other clinical findings to confirm and substantiate disability claims.

View the full episode here:

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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