Media Matters Denounces Fox News Report on SSDI

Media Matters had an interesting story last month, exposing Fox News for falsely claiming that Americans are using the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program in order to avoid working.

The website reported that Fox News’ Stuart Varney dishonestly gave out data indicating that the number of people receiving SSDI is rising because beneficiaries commit fraud in order to avoid working. However, more researchers and experts say that fraud in the program is low and that most Americans are not faking disabilities.

“Varney accused SSDI beneficiaries of committing fraud by taking the ‘disability option’ supposedly where able-bodied individuals who can’t find a job use SSDI almost as an insurance policy against no income or no job,” Media Matters reported. “As [the news outlet] has noted, the eligibility criteria for Social Security disability are stringent, with waiting periods that are typically months long, and more than half of all applicants are denied.”

Additionally, as we reported on Monday, and as Media Matters has pointed out, the rise in SSDI numbers is directly tied to the number of baby boomers reaching disability prone years and the number of women entering the workforce in recent years.

“Fraud [is not] a widespread problem in the SSDI program,” Media Matters reported. “The National Council of Disability Determination testified in Congress in 2013 that the net accuracy rate of disability determinations ‘has been 97 percent or better over the last 3 years’.”

We appreciate it when news outlets like Media Matters point out inaccuracies by the mainstream media in SSDI reporting.

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible For Disability Benefits?

When a media outlet reports about the SSDI program, it should use real statistics. For example, about 1 in 5 male SSDI beneficiaries and 1 in 7 female beneficiaries die within 5 years of receiving benefits. This shows that the overwhelming majority of people receiving disability benefits are truly disabled.

In order to qualify for SSDI, you need to have earned work credits. If you have questions about applying for SSDI benefits, contact us today. We offer free consultations.

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


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