As we reported last week, a CBS News story that ran on 60 Minutes titled “Disability, USA” has sparked controversy among disabled advocates who say that the report was not accurate. The piece focused on people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
In a follow up, many viewers wrote letters to CBS to say that the report was biased. CBS published a few of the letters it received—in one letter a viewer said that the entire report was based on anecdotal evidence.
“I suppose what has people with disabilities mad at 60 Minutes is that you still haven’t fully investigated the story and screened out all the misinformation,” the viewer wrote. “Nobody disagrees that there is some fraud, that it should be addressed, and that any fraud at all is newsworthy. However, [it’s] wrong to depict the system as having a large [portion] of [fraud] when it does not. That misinforms in a way that stigmatizes and harms people with disabilities.”
The 60 Minutes piece spent several minutes focusing on a Huntington, West Virginia attorney, who along with a former Administrative Law Judge, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee earlier this month about alleged fraud involving a scheme to win cases for clients, while collecting millions of dollars.
Following the attorney’s testimony before the Senate committee, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) released a statement critical of his alleged actions.
“NOSSCR condemns any misuse of the Social Security disability programs. We hold our members to high ethical standards and enforce an annual ethics education requirement,” the organization said. “Any individual who seeks to abuse vital programs like the Social Security disability programs does so at the expense of the millions of vulnerable beneficiaries for whom benefits are a vital lifeline, and should be brought to justice.”
It should be noted that the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires SSDI applicants to show that they cannot do work because of their medical conditions. Only in cases of severe disabilities are benefits awarded after an initial application. SSDI is not a scheme for people who do not want to work—in fact, about 1 in 5 male SSDI beneficiaries and 1 in 7 female beneficiaries die within 5 years of receiving benefits.
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 lawyers