Do you binge watch Netflix? If you do, you may have seen Orange is the New Black (OITNB), a comedy-drama about inmates at a federal prison.
Recently, TalkPoverty.org had an interesting report about how the television show brought up the subject of Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In one scene, a character known as Pennsatucky is shown in a flashback to her childhood, where she is forced to drink a two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew by her mother, before they visit a Social Security Administration field office.
Because of a sugar and caffeine high, Pennsatucky is shown being hyperactive at the field office, with her mother asking for SSI for her daughters’ implied Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), hinting that you can obtain benefits fraudulently.
However, as TalkPoverty.org noted, this stereotype dates back to the mid-1990s when media reports accused parents of coaching children to act disabled in order to obtain benefits. Interestingly, at the time, not many benefits were actually being granted to people with ADHD. Because of misleading media reports, however, Congress ended up changing eligibility requirements for children with mental disorders, leading to the end of benefits for more than 100,000 children.
TalkPoverty.org columnist Rebecca Vallas, the former deputy director of government affairs at the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, reported that unfair media portrayals such as those on OITNB, help stereotypes grow. “Only children with the most severe impairments and illnesses qualify for SSI. The majority of children who apply are denied, and fewer than 1 in 4 U.S. children with disabilities receive benefits,” Vallas reported.
According to Vallas, currently, only four percent of U.S. children with ADHD actually receive SSI.
What Do I Need to Know about SSDI and SSI?
It is unfortunate that OITNB, an acclaimed show that tackles many important social issues, has portrayed Social Security in this fashion. Although the show is highly entertaining, we hope viewers are able to distinguish fiction from reality.
If you need assistance with an SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application, contact our Tulsa disability attorneys. We can help you move forward with a claim.
Have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers