This past Sunday, 60 Minutes aired a segment called Disability USA, in which correspondent Steve Kroft reported on the “alarming state of the federal disability program” which has exploded in size and is about to run out of money. Kroft interviewed Senator Tom Coburn (who is also a medical doctor), several current and former Social Security employees and former associate attorneys for a national law firm that advertises heavily 1.
The gist of the story is that hundreds of thousands of able-bodied people have been approved for disability and are costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Further, the story suggested that disability lawyers are culpable in the outsize growth of the disability program because they advertise heavily. Further, there was an implication that at least some disability lawyers game the system with inappropriate and/or illegal relationships with doctors and judges. Several of the judges and SSA employees interviewed opined that the disability program has devolved into a last resort unemployment program rather than one focused on people with serious disabilities.
I have no doubt that fair minded American taxpayers who have no experience with the disability program were and are appalled at a system which appears to be out of control and rife with fraud and manipulation. [Read more...]