From My Vantage Point, Social Security Disability is Totally Corrupt

Nicole Kaeding of Cato has an article on the SSD system heading for bankruptcy.  I can tell you from my experience that a week does not go by when someone doesn't come to me looking for work and saying something like, "I am on full disability but I am fully able to work.  However, I can't take any pay because that would screw up my disability payments.  Can I work for you and have you write my payroll checks to my wife?"

The easy answer to that is "no".  With a backlog of 25000+ people who want a job, why am I going to help them cheat, particularly when it would be me taking the legal risk?

I once had an ex-employee who was applying for a SS disability.  You may not understand that for many folks, getting a Social Security lifetime disability is like hitting the lottery.  This employee knew that if asked, we would have to tell the SS investigator that she seemed fully able to do her job and never demonstrated any reduced functionality.  So to pre-empt that, she and her attorney sent me a letter saying that if we in any way testified to her being able to work and prevented her from getting her disability payment, she would tie me up in court for years, suing me for sexual harassment, discrimination, and everything else she could think of.


  1. Ward Chartier:

    Is pre-emptive suppression of speech a tort?

  2. DirtyJobsGuy:

    No one likes to talk about the role of SS Disability in the current SS financial problems, particularly disability for drug and alcohol abuse. But no one also likes to talk about the role of providing drug and alcohol rehab on medical insurance premiums. For my small business in CT it's the only thing we can think of to account for a 65% premium increase since we already had guaranteed issue, unlimited lifetime payments etc.

  3. disqus_00YDCZxqDV:

    A lawyer wrote you a letter threatening to tie you up in court if you told the truth to the feds? You should have forwarded the letter to the state bar association and the DHHS!

  4. ErikEssig:

    I've got two close family members that are on SS disability. Their eligibility for disability was not a slam dunk in either case, but at least they were in their late 50's when they filed and neither can work full-time in my opinion. Part-time is another story I won't explore. I don't think they are breaking the system, but I also don't think they are typical.

  5. Peter:

    I would have just forwarded the letter on to the SS administration and let them figure it out. After all isn't the letter a slam dunk defense against her accusations?

  6. joe:

    During the late1980's through the early 1990's I had a client with severe digenerative muscle disease (similar to MS). This client barely able to function, much less work. At that time, it was automatic denial at the 1st two stages, and 99% automatic denial at the administrative appealette stage. It almost always required filing suit in federal district to obtain SSD. My understanding in today's environment, it is close to a 40-50% acceptance rate at the initial stage.

  7. albkmb:

    You didn't finish your story. Were you asked to testify? If so, what did you say? If not, what would you have said if testifying?

  8. Maximum Liberty:

    Possibly malicious prosecution, if actually filed. It might also be criminal blackmail, depending on the exact facts and state's law.
    Max L.

  9. Daublin:

    I suspect Warren is simplifying. The letter probably left off the "if" and left it implicit. Instead, it described the "then": I can sue you for this, I can sue you for that.

    I know an academic tenure case that was reverse after a letter much like this. A female professor was turned down on tenure, and she wrote a letter hinting that maybe it's because she was female. There was never any actual legal action, and I don't even know how explicit the threat was, but the threat was certainly heard. Her case got reversed and she got tenure after all.

    I believe many proponents of employment law haven't thought through how it actually plays out in the trenches. There's a strong temptation toward corrupt filings. As well, anyone legitimately aggrieved is likely going to want to part ways with the company, anyway; who wants to work in a place where the people there don't want you?

  10. Guy Skoy:

    Put me into the "Guaranteed Income" crowd just to prevent these shenanigans, freeing up resources for those that are truly in need.

  11. DCSpotter:

    That assumes SSD would be interested in investigating the letter....

  12. Adam:

    I'm sure there are a lot of fraudulent activity, but my mother, a college educated, physical therapist, desperately needed it as she got into her late 50's. Having that safety net kept her out of poverty.

  13. Howard Luken:

    My goodness Warren you certainly complain about your employees an awful lot. Have you ever thought about selling the business and getting out of your government cash machine? Of course not. Having that giant ATM must be wonderful. Now if only you could wait till the day robots replace us all, We terrible employees. Of course then the campgrounds would be full of broken-down robots just like the truck and tools you supplied us with. What would the Boy Scouts have to complain about then eh?

  14. Howard Luken:

    "This employee knew that if asked, we would have to tell the SS investigator that she seemed fully able to do her job and never demonstrated any reduced functionality."
    Who are you kidding man? Your response to the Arizona Attorney General in my case was a clever and total fiction. Just like your blog entry back in June attacking me as such a terrible employee, (Remember promising me you didn't do this? Yet I found two different blog entries about the situation?), your response to the AG was a total and complete impeachment of my person, not my job performance, etc. Your attorney even creatively claimed that I abandoned some poor woman 120 miles from her destination. I and the AG still wonder what that has to do with my incredibly brief two day employment with you!

  15. skhpcola:

    Warren was referring to an ex-employee. He talks about how superlative his current employees are continually. But I see from your comment below that you are grinding your axe down to a nub. Good luck with that.

  16. Howard Luken:

    I shall grind away until the AG completely dismisses all of this nonsense and I will wake from it like a terrible sweaty nightmare... WARREN.

  17. Howard Luken:

    Over 2000 comments on discus from you... And your one follower is called gerbil rancher... Fascinating.

  18. skhpcola:

    You're probably wasting your time. I've been reading this blog for at least 6 years and there has never been any indication that Warren reads the comments. He never participates in the comment section.

  19. sch:

    What many of you are talking about is that musculoskeletal problems and mental problems have become the majority claimed reasons
    for disability over the past 10-15yrs. Both of these areas are subjective hence ancillary findings such as effective educational level and
    prior job experience become factors in judging disability. Manual laborers with less than high school grad education who are older are
    shoo-ins for disability. A physician or lawyer would have to meet considerably tighter criteria. Realistically with the economy sucking for
    the past 6-7 yrs and middle class jobs evaporating the criteria for disability is loosening up. OTOH how long is $1000-1200/mo going
    to last, and if it does last (see predictions that disability fund runs out ~2016 or so) what kind of life will they be living in 10-20 yrs?

  20. ECM:

    This speaks to one of the glaring problems with the disability arrangement: if you start getting paid, you lose your 'benefits' which, in too many cases, then consigns you to making less money than you were on disability.

    (Mind you, I'm not saying this is moral or justified, but as long as the system is set up like this, it's going to make it incredibly difficult to get people off it because the economic incentive is to take the 'free' money and run.)

  21. mesaeconoguy:

    Socialist Insecurity is insolvent, and will hit the fiscal wall in about 8 years.

    And no, you can’t divert funds from one to the other, like 1982.

    Enjoy your 1.2 COLA.

    Cheers, boomers!

  22. Randy:

    Why isn't it your responsibility, rather than mine, to keep her out of poverty?

  23. trangbang68:

    Dude, I don't know you or the blog writer but if you're totally overwrought about a job you held for 2 days, you should qualify for disability for terminal lameness. Get a life.

  24. Adam:

    I'm not here on this blog to debate my complicated and personal situation with assholes in comment sections. The article was about the fraud involved in disability and I was simply saying there are also hard working people that for one reason or another have utilized thy system but aren't leaches.

    Your comment shows a misunderstanding of disability versus most other the rest of our social safety net. It's based on Social Security, which is a tax that any working adult pays in to and it acts as a form of both forced savings and insurance. My mother paid in for 30 years and then utilized what she paid in to. You personally are not paying for anything.

    Finally, your statement only ends in one place, why should there be any social safety net at all? Everybody on their own. If that's your hardcore libertarian position, wonderful, but its not reflective of reality and its pointless to debate.

  25. K. E.:

    I am not so certain that we aren't paying for anything. I am not sure how much money your mother paid into the program over her 30 years of work, nor how long she took disability payments. But since I am working and paying into the program (which is now almost bankrupt), then, yes, I would say we ARE paying for your mother.

    I do think there is something to be said for a family taking in a relative who can no longer work. Not every family, however, can do that. I am not sure what the solution is to the disability problem, but I think a good first step would be to make ALL people on disability go through a screening every year to ensure they are still truly disabled. Mental illness disability should be reserved for the worst suffers, such as schizophrenics. But having bi-polar disorder or severe depression should not be a ticket to riding on the rest of us.

  26. Howard Luken:

    Dude its characters like you who spend their lives trolling blogs And making thousands of comments here and there who need to get a life. The two days on the job aren't the issue. The issue is the horrific treatment we received from his employees hence the Attorney General of the State of Arizona being contacted. I'm only still checking this because the Attorney General takes forever to investigate these employers. I only just received Meyer's attorney written response which proved to be a total fiction. I only answer you here because there's no way to respond to you on your Disqus profile. Which by the way seems to be filled with rants and raving about Muslims and other boogiemen. You sir are a victim of the Zionist press and media.

  27. trangbang68:

    Oh no, the Zionist press...nice try Adolph

  28. herdgadfly:

    So the clever Coyote ended the potential future conflict by removing existing employee privileges -- brilliant!!

    There was no ugly threat attached to this simple solution.

  29. Mike:

    I fail to understand why/how children can earn disability for such things as ADHD. If they aren't of working age, how can they earn disability?

  30. Denise Overwood:

    I have a 43 yr. old son who has several disabilities and has tried many times to get his disability and is always turned down! One thing he has is narcolepsy. Who can work when you don’t know when you are going to to fall asleep?
    And it comes with many other problems. They sure haven’t done a thing to help him! Has IBS, degenerative disc disease, cluster headaches, anxiety, depression, agoraphobia.