This Sunday night CBS “60 Minutes” plans to air a story on Social Security Disability focusing on the growth of the program over the last 4 years. This story follows on the heels of a PBS story critical of the standards for determining disability and suggesting that the growth of the program is both unsustainable and based more on the inability to find a job than true disability. Journalists often love prepackaged stories that present simplified themes of who is right and who is wrong, so I would expect 60 Minutes to rely heavily on PBS’s work.
On the other side is the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR), an organization of which I am a sustaining member, that maintains the Social Security Disability program is responsive to true inability to work and that the program’s growth is primarily driven by the aging of our population. NOSSCR maintains that the critism of the Social Security Disability program is part of the conservative Fox News narrative that President Obama is turning us into an entitlement, government-dependent nation and that the attacks on the program represent a mean-spirited attack on the less fortunate. The organization “Media Matters” also has a good rejoinder to the attack on the disability program found at http://mediamatters.org/print/research/2013/04/25/myths-amp-facts-behind-the-campaign-to-attack-d/193767.
CBS “60 Minutes” is likely to present a thoughtful and well constructed segment on Social Security Disability this weekend. However, a balanced and accurate understanding of this important issue requires considering more than one view on the subject.