Saturday, July 26, 2008

SSDI Logjam

Is the Social Security Disability Income program, which is the only Social Security trust fund that is currently solvent, looking for a scapegoat?

It would seem that way, as the Senate "is investigating whether insurance companies are forcing able-bodied people to apply for Social Security disability benefits, worsening a severe backlog in the government program while increasing their own profits."

Forcing able-bodied folks to apply.

I suppose that is one way to say it.

Of course if they are able-bodied, why are they currently collecting disability? Carriers are not benevolent organizations that freely dole out monies to folks who are able to work.

Sick and injured people must often wait more than a year before their claims can be decided by one of Social Security’s administrative law judges, a delay Mr. Grassley called “abominable.”

“The last thing those who rely on Social Security need is for insurance companies to be clogging up the system by forcing ineligible applicants to apply,” he said.

Waiting a year before being awarded the benefit. Many times SSDI applicants must hire an attorney to appeal earlier denials.

If carriers acted in the same manner they would be strung up by their Gucci heels.

The Social Security Administration defines “disabled” much more narrowly than insurance policies typically do, so many people who qualify for insurance benefits do not qualify for Social Security.

It is true that the SSDI definition of disability is much more stringent than carrier language. It is also true that if carriers tried using the same language in their contracts would be tarred and feathered for denying claims to folks who were not "disabled enough" to qualify.

Senator's calling carriers on the carpet for trying to legally manage their business while ignoring their own shortcoming.

This must be an election year.
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