In your article, titled Free America’s ‘work beasts’ from disability scammers, you wrote "we have permission to resent those who could hold a job but don’t, preferring to collect disability checks".

This is something Bill O'Reilly at Fox News has also said on a few occasions, so I assume you don't do your own research or collect your own data --- but instead, like a lazy writer who is getting paid, you just take for granted what the conservative media tells you.

People don't "choose" to collect a disability check, it's usually because they have no other choice. It often takes up to three years to pursue a SSDI claim, and a majority of the claims are usually denied --- especially during, and up to, the appeals process. People aren't forgoing an income (even a low income) for several years with the outside chance that some day, maybe, they MIGHT be awarded an SSDI claim.

You also noted that over the past 20 years the percent of eligible SSDI awards went up from 3% to 5%. But considering the demographics of our country's population, and the growing number of aging Baby Boomers, is it really so unreasonable that we would see a spike in SSDI claims during this period of time? Especially if these people were doing labor intensive work for the past 40 or so years? Especially if their fat asses weren't sitting dormant in a chair behind a desk taking paychecks from a newspaper?

And most people on SSDI are not "scammers". The Social Security Administration puts applicants through a long and grueling process. I myself was required to see three Social Security doctors (for evaluation, not treatment) and had a mountain of paperwork to deal with. And you can be assured that their assessments are very much against awarding someone an SSDI claim if they don't have to.

So for you to use the terminology "welfare program" is very offensive to the majority of eligible applicants who legitimately pursue a claim. SSDI applicants are under tremendous stress, many times on a daily basis, wondering how they will survive and wondering if or when their SSDI claim will ever eventually be awarded. You, like Bill O'Reilly and others, make it sound like most of us are lounging by a pool drinking Margaritas. It's twisted and mean-spirited people like you that perpetuate this myth.

You also write that "many beneficiaries are older blue-collar workers out of a job, preferring to collect these inflation-adjusted monthly checks to doing some low-wage gig at a hamburger place."

Again, where do you get your data? How many is "many" and how old is "older" when referring to workers. How do you know they are "preferring" to pursue a claim rather than working at a hamburger joint? Where do you get your data? Or do you just regurgitate the same old crap that other writers have written in the past? You offer nothing new on the subject of Social Security disability, but only make the same bold lies that Bill O'Reilly constantly does. You disgust me.

In your obviously biased article you accused the "able-bodied playing the scam and the doctors helping them". Again, more baloney. Most people who are already out of work because of a disability have already lost their employer-provided healthcare coverage, and so most of these people must rely on some form of State Medicaid --- in which case, they can't pick and choose which "crooked" doctor they might prefer to see. They are mandated to see certain approved doctors and many times these doctors will not even provide an analyses for SSDI claims, but will only release medical records for any actual treatment they provide. These doctors aren't going to risk their careers with SSDI fraud.

As an aside: I am curious about the anecdotal story you used of a 29-year-old Canadian from Quebec. I though only U.S. citizens were qualified for SSDI.

You also mentioned another "story" about a disabled firefighter "collecting $3,789 a month free of federal and state income taxes". Oh really? Where do you get your data from, the Twilight Zone?

The average monthly SSDI benefit is $1,132 a month. And the maximum Social Security retirement benefit is $2,533 per month. But that is very rare as someone would have had to have the maximum earnings over the entire length of their career to qualify for that amount. Yet the amount you quote for a firefighter is complete nonsense --- unless of course, he received SSDI in conjunction to a union pension for retirement --- but that wasn't what you were implying, were you? Hmmmmm?

As to "older workers", I am one of those older workers who worked labor intensive jobs for 37 years before applying for SSDI. I can tell you first hand that your article is nothing but a lot of garbage. You are not a writer, a reporter, or even a good person with noble character. People like you hurt other people like me who need these benefits. We paid in to this system all our working lives and that's why we also expect Social Security retirement and Medicare when we get too old and/or sick to work any longer.

SSDI, for the VAST MAJORITY of recipients, is NOT "welfare".

And if I were you, I would hope that you are independently wealthy, in the event that you might also become disabled. Otherwise, I hope you reap what you sow.

And please, do us all a favor, and stop peddling your mean and despicable lies. How a miserable example of a writer such as yourself can become a "syndicated columnist" is well beyond my comprehension skills.

Froma Harrop uses the email address fharrop@projo.com
---her blog is at http://www.fromaharrop.com/

Originally posted to Bud Meyers on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 12:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Social Security Defenders.

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