The fallout over a CBS News story that ran recently on 60 Minutes titled “Disability, USA” continues, as many media outlets have denounced the report as erroneous. Last week, Media Matters attacked the piece, saying that it was misleading. The CBS piece focused on people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
“The myths pushed by 60 Minutes have been repeatedly debunked by experts. The report admitted that the vast majority of people applying for benefits are denied, but ignored the fact that the majority of appeals are also denied, and that award rates have actually fallen during the economic recession,” Media Matters reported. “In April, the Wall Street Journal called the claim that federal disability benefits were to blame for people leaving the labor force ‘exaggerated,’ explaining that disability was in fact the least common reason individuals left the workforce.”
Rebecca Vallas, co-chair of the Social Security Task Force at the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, also denounced the piece in an interview. The 60 Minutes piece relied heavily on a West Virginia attorney, who along with a former Administrative Law Judge, allegedly schemed to get people approved for SSDI benefits.
From the Media Matters piece, as told by Vallas:
“The recent 60 Minutes broadcast is just the latest in an array of sensational and misleading media reports that have perpetuated myths and stereotypes about the Social Security disability programs and the people they help. These media reports do a tremendous disservice to viewers as well as to people with disabilities. Any misuse of these vital programs is unacceptable; however it is unfortunate and disappointing when media reports mislead their viewers by painting entire programs with the brush of one or a few bad apples, without putting them in the context of the millions of individuals who receive benefits appropriately, and for whom they are a vital lifeline — as well as the many disability advocates around the country who work hard to protect the rights of individuals with significant disabilities and serious illnesses who have been wrongly denied Social Security disability benefits.”
We are happy that so many media outlets have come out to denounce the report. The CBS piece comes on the heels of two large-scale pieces from the public radio program This American Life and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, which we blogged about, that were also critical of SSDI and based entirely on anecdotal evidence.
We will continue to keep you updated on the fallout from the 60 Minutes report. If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, we suggest contacting a Tulsa Social Security disability attorney. We offer free consultations, and you may reach us by phone at (918) 587-0050.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys