Sen. Rand Paul Joins Attack on Social Security Disability Insurance

Jan 14, 2015

A week after House Republicans passed a rule that could force a 20% cut in Social Security benefits for 11 million disabled workers and their families, Sen. Rand Paul today joined the GOP attack against Americans who receive Social Security Disability Insurance, trivializing the severity of their conditions and falsely implying that it is easy to qualify.

“Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts. Everybody over 40 has a little back pain,” he said at a press event in New Hampshire.

Sen. Paul’s remarks are insulting to Americans with severe, life-altering disabilities who paid for their Social Security benefits with years of hard work. They also expose the approach Republican Members of Congress are taking on Social Security Disability Insurance – to cut a program that millions of Americans rely on to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads when they can no longer work.

His remarks ignore the strict eligibility requirements for Disability Insurance, which restricts benefits to those with the most severe illnesses and injuries. Because of the stringency of these requirements, the majority of disabled people who apply for Social Security don’t qualify for benefits.

The facts about Social Security Disability Insurance eligibility requirements:

Social Security Administration: “Because the [Social Security] Act defines disability so strictly, Social Security disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired in the country.  In fact, Social Security disability beneficiaries are more than three times as likely to die in a year as other people the same age. Among those who start receiving disability benefits at the age of 55, 1-in-5 men and 1-in-7 women die within five years of the onset of their disabilities.”

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities: “According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. has the most restrictive and least generous disability benefit system of all OECD member countries, except Korea. Most applicants for Social Security disability benefits are denied. Fewer than 4 in 10 are approved, even after all stages of appeal.”

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114th Congress