Not Even Reagan Could Touch Disability Benefits

Maybe Social Security reform is and will always be a case of the phrase “the more something changes, the more it stays the same.” That seems to be the case after a review of articles criticizing Social Security – the catch is that these articles date back to the Reagan era, nearly 30 years ago.

An article from a Miami newspaper in the summer of 1983 was entitled “Critics blast Reagan’s plan for Social Security Disability fix.” Given Reagan’s legacy for conservatism and cut backs to big government, we might expect his moves to have trimmed the size of Social Security Disability programs. In fact, Reagan’s moves were in just the opposite direction.

Criticisms of his plans took aim at his moves to enlarge Social Security Disability. Reagan suggested exempting some 200,000 disability beneficiaries from regular review as well as an additional 150,000 exemptions for those suffering from mental impairments. Another reform brought by Reagan involved moving from Social Security Disability reviews based on profiling to ones based on random, “spot checks” of beneficiaries to determine whether they were still eligible for benefits.

It is difficult to imagine significant cuts ever being made to Social Security Disability, particularly if a president like Reagan could not even venture there. Despite periodic articles about fraud and widespread waste in the system, the majority of disability beneficiaries are Americans in need who depend on their monthly checks. The disability benefits system may not be perfect, but politicians seem to have conceded over the last several decades that the good far outweighs the bad.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers


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