An article in the June 25 edition of the Mirror suggests that disability judges are "too lax."
Since more than half of the claims decided locally are denied by these judges (a little under the national average), one wonders what the effect of a more stringent system of adjudication would be.
The article cites only one argument in support of this claim - the fact that social security judges approve benefits in "at strikingly high rates for people whose claims were rejected by field offices or state agencies."
This could mean that the judges are "lax," but it is more likely that they are approving claims which were improperly denied by the state agencies.
The real question is why so many persons with legitimate claims have to appeal and wait a year or more to even receive a hearing on their claim.
In my experience, the number of people who genuinely want to work but are unable to do so far exceeds the number of "slackers" applying for disability benefits.
Social Security disability is defined by a strict standard: A person must, as a result of a medical condition, be unable to do either the work that they did before, or any other work.
Additionally, the disability must last, or be expected to last, for at least one year or result in death. Unlike many other programs, they do not award benefits for partial disability or temporary impairments.
A society is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members.
The attack on Social Security judges is a politically motivated attempt by Republican members of the House of Representatives to find a way to reduce federal expenditures.
If they succeed, the price will be paid by disabled individuals for whom Social Security benefits are the only means of support available to them.