"It looks like CBS News can no longer afford to do their own news reporting so they are picking up material from other sources. There seems no other way to explain the piece it ran last night on the Social Security disability program on Sixty Minutes which is best described as a spinoff of an earlier This American Life piece.

The remarkable aspect of this story is that it completely ignored all the comments from experts in the field in response to the This American Life piece pointing out that fraud is in fact not rampant in the disability program (e.g. here and here). There were any number of experts who could have been interviewed on this topic to counterbalance the views of a far-right senator who is best known as a denier of global warming (Tom Coburn). But Sixty Minutes apparently could not be bothered to present a more balanced picture of the disability program.

The basic fact, which may be painful for CBS News and Sixty Minutes, is that it is not easy to get on Social Security disability. Close to three quarters of applicants are turned down initially and even after appeal, 60 percent of applicants are denied benefits.

If Sixty Minutes was actually interested in the incidence of fraudulent claims it might have turned to the authors of a University of Michigan study [PDF]. . . "

Beat the Press http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/cbs-news-60-minutes-joins-the-disability-bashing-bandwagon.



" “With millions of people still out of work, with an economic recovery that is still far too fragile, with students and families being crushed by student loan debt, with millions of seniors denied one hot meal a day with Meals on Wheels and millions of little children pushed out of Head start because of a sequester that is dragging down the middle class, with the country hours away from a government shutdown and days away from a potential default on the nation’s debt, the Republicans have decided that the single most important issue facing our nation is to change the law so that employers can deny women access birth control coverage. In fact, letting employers decide whether women can get birth control covered on their insurance plans is SO important that the Republicans are willing to shutter the government and potentially tank the economy. Over whether women can access birth control coverage. In the year 2013. Not the year 1913—the year 2013.”

“We should be having a real debate about our budget – because we have real problems to solve. Earlier this year, automatic, across-the board cuts went into effect throughout the federal government,” said Warren. “More than a thousand employees at Westover Air Force Base and Barnes Air National Guard Base in Western Massachusetts are facing furloughs. This fall, more than 2,000 Massachusetts kids couldn’t get into Head Start because of cuts, and the Head Start program in Billerica will close completely at the end of this year. Federal workers across our state stand to lose as much as 30 percent of their salaries. Every one of those losses will tighten family budgets.”

The Senator also addressed Republicans’ various, ongoing attempts to shut down the government unless the President agrees to gut the Affordable Care Act. “The threats may continue, but they are not working. And they will never work,” said Warren. “Because this is a democracy. And in a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t otherwise win their fights through elections, can’t win their fights in Congress, can’t win their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in Courts. For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left – a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy.”"

Sen. Warren on Republicans: 'Hostage-taking is All They Have Left' - Government - Framingham, MA Patch http://framingham.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/sen-warren-on-republicans-hostagetaking-is-all-they-have-left




For those wondering how the shutdown will affect operations at ODAR, NOSSCR has provided this:


September 30, 2013


In the event of a government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the Social Security Administration has announced that they will continue limited service in the ODARs. While all previously scheduled hearings are expected to be conducted until further notice, no new hearings will be scheduled, nor will claim records be prepared or developed. The Appeals Council will not be reviewing any cases. Field Office and DDS employees will continue to process initial applications and requests for reconsideration; most other work will be suspended. Monthly payments to current beneficiaries will be made.

SSA's current contingency plan can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/shutdown2013.pdf. Due to the fluidity of the situation, we encourage you to check SSA's webpage frequently for the most up-to-date information.

Barbara R. Silverstone