Members of Congress and others familiar with the Social Security Disability process attribute the rise in claims and benefits paid out in recent years at least in part to the tough economic times. Unable to find work and no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, some applicants may have applied for SSDI benefits because they had nowhere else to turn. For more information on eligibility for SSDI benefits, a Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyer can advise people who are disabled and unable to work.
Oklahoma’s junior Senator, Republican Tom Coburn, has criticized this alleged misuse of the SSDI process. He wants the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to get better at ensuring that people who collect disability benefits are in fact unable to perform any work.
Coburn cites a personal experience as anecdotal evidence. He hired a man in Muskogee to perform yard work. Clearly able to perform the yard work, the worker told Coburn that he was also collecting Social Security Disability payments.
The SSA itself acknowledges that there are likely people collecting SSDI benefits who should not be, but, with limited staff and financial resources, the SSA cannot police beneficiaries as much as it would like. Beneficiaries are subject to “Continuing Disability Reviews,” during which the SSA determines whether the beneficiary is still unable to work. The backlog of these reviews will reach 1.5 million in 2011. Altogether, the SSA estimates that over $1 billion may be going to people who should not be receiving the benefits. A Tulsa Social Security Disability attorney can advise potential SSDI applicants as to whether they may be eligible for benefits.