Why Those Calling Social Security Disability a Form of Unemployment Are Wrong

The Huffington Post recently published an article arguing against a Washington Post report that claimed large numbers of working-age rural Americans are taking advantage of the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) system. The Huffington Post article alleges that the Post’s accusation that as many as one in three working-age men and women in the rural US are using Social Security disability benefits as a form of unemployment is false.

What Does the Report in the Washington Post Get Wrong About SSDI?

The Washington Post story claims there is a Social Security disability benefits crisis in the rural US. However, as the Huffington Post report points out, data recently released by the Center for American Progress (CAP) refute the allegations made in the Post article. As stated above, the Post story alleges that one in three working Americans living in the rural US are using SSDI as a form of unemployment. CAP data, however, shows that:

  • The Post article inflated the number of working-age people receiving Social Security disability benefits by almost 500,000.
  • The report in the Post also overcounts the number of disabled children by nearly 750,000.
  • The Post story is missing data from around 106 US counties, including 97 rural counties.

If You Cannot Prove a Disability Prevents You from Working, It Is Nearly Impossible to Collect SSDI

The reason that accusations that a large number of people are duping the Social Security Administration (SSA) and using SSDI as if it were unemployment are likely false is because as Tulsa Social Security disability attorney Steve Troutman explains in this video, proving you cannot work to the SSA is extremely difficult.



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