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SSD controversy could make application process more challenging

Recently, the House of Representatives has been investigating a complex controversy within the Social Security Administration. Essentially, it came to the attention of Congress that the SSA may have been approving applications for Social Security Disability benefits that would ordinarily be rejected by state agencies or field offices. In addition, some benefits recipients are allegedly remaining beneficiaries long after they no longer meet the criterion that defines what it means to be disabled within this system.

House investigators have confirmed that both of these situations occur with some frequency. In recent years, Congress has been cracking down on what some of its members deem to be wasteful spending and government overreach. It is possible that the House investigation will ultimately lead Congress to direct the SSA to make obtaining and remaining on SSD benefits even more difficult than those processes are now.

The SSD system is far from perfect. It is certainly true that improvements could be made within the SSA to ensure that the process keeps fraudsters out and legitimately disabled people in. However, in making the process too challenging to navigate, both legitimate applicants and the rare illegitimate applicants are kept from receiving benefits. Is ensuring that disabled persons receive their benefits in a timely and fair manner not more important than keeping a rare illegitimate candidate from receiving benefits?

As Congress questions how to respond to the results of the House’s investigation, it is important to keep the needs of millions of legitimately disabled persons in mind. While it may save a little money to crack down on fraudsters and make the application process more difficult, such a move could harm millions of Americans if not conducted cautiously.

Source: CBS News, “House probe cries foul on Social Security disability claims,” June 24, 2013

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