Jump in Social Security leads GOP to demand removal of judges

Republicans call for "rubber stamper" judges to be removed in hopes of reducing the number of Americans receiving disability payments.

Republicans in the House are calling for the Social Security Administration to remove administrative law judges who are considered "rubber stampers" - simply approving disability benefits to those who were previously denied without properly reviewing the applicant's qualifications. A recent article in The Washington Post addressed the issue, noting members of the House made their intentions clear to the current Commissioner of the SSA in a letter.

Critics argue too many people in the United States are receiving social security benefits, while proponents of the system clarify that recipients are receiving the benefits they deserve.

Disability in the United States, the reality

The statistics are startling. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that one in four 20 year-olds will suffer an accident that will leave them disabled before they reach the age of retirement. National Public Radio recently reported that over 14 million people throughout the United States get a disability check every month. These numbers prove the disability can and does happen, and it could happen to you.

Those that find themselves unable to work due to a disability are able to apply for benefits from social security, which acts as a type of safety net. Instead of letting these individuals fall deep into poverty, the program is designed to offer payments to those who have worked in the past and now suffer a medical condition that impedes their ability to find employment and support themselves.

How the program works

Disability Insurance is funded by employers and employees through payroll contributions. Applicants can only receive these payments if they had worked long enough prior to becoming disabled to qualify for coverage.

The standard is strict. A recent article in the Huffington Post noted that only approximately 40 percent of applicants for the benefits receive approval. Critics of the program argue that the significant increase in Americans receiving disability benefits is a sign of people taking advantage of the system. This argument is countered by actuaries and other financial professionals in the Post's article by noting that the number of people eligible for disability has increased since women joined the workforce. In addition, a large portion of the current workforce is composed of baby boomers. "[B]aby boomers entering their high-disability years" are more likely to require the assistance offered by these benefits.

Legal counsel can help

If you have been injured and are unable to continue working, you may qualify for social security disability benefits. A social security disability attorney can represent you at a social security disability hearing or appeal, helping to better ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.