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Attack on Social Security Disability Insurance rebutted

WBTV has been beaming the CBS network's offerings to Charlotte for decades. An important part of the programming has been the weekly discussion of important national issues, "Face the Nation." A recent installment of the show featured Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, talking about matters important to the administration.

According to a recent Los Angeles Times column, Mulvaney's comments included "a drive-by shooting of some the nation’s neediest and most defenseless people: the disabled." Mulvaney said Social Security Disability is not only "the fastest-growing program," but is also "very wasteful."

Columnist Michael Hiltzik was not going to let the attack pass as easily as "Face the Nation" moderator John Dickerson let it go by without comment.

Hiltzik notes that Mulvaney is "wrong on both counts." Social Security Disability is not the fastest-growing program in the federal government or even in the Social Security Administration. In fact, Social Security Disability is not growing at all. It’s shrinking.

Hiltzik points out that in 2014, disability benefits enrollment hit its high-water mark of 8.95 million (plus another 1.98 million spouses and children). By the end of last year, enrollment had fallen to 8.81 million, plus 1.8 million spouses and kids. That's shrinkage of nearly 3 percent, not growth, the columnist correctly states.

He adds that workers disabled by injury or illness receive an average of $13,984 yearly. "A very thin hair" above the poverty line, he writes.

The other part of Mulvaney's attack was similarly dispatched. Social Security Disability is not "wasteful." The programs combined disability error rate (overpayments plus underpayments) is less than 1 percent of benefits.

There is a long, hard search ahead for anyone hoping to find a more efficient government program that truly helps people in need.

When a disabled applicant has an SSDI claim denied, an experienced attorney can also be truly helpful with an appeal. You can contact the Charlotte office of Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler for more information.

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