Social Security Law Sets Disability Standards

By Callahan, John J. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

Social Security Law Sets Disability Standards


Callahan, John J., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Bernard Baruch once said, "Everyone has a right to be wrong about their opinions, but no one has a right to be wrong about their facts."

Unfortunately, James Allsup was wrong about his facts in a May 15 commentary about the Social Security Administration's policies on determining disability claims ("Agency Cuts Costs By Blocking Aid For The Disabled").

Mr. Allsup says that the Social Security Administration plans "to force its (administrative law) judges to apply the agency's policy instead of federal law when determining who receives disability benefits." This is factually untrue. Social Security's policy guidelines are, in fact, in full compliance with the law. In those rare circumstances where a circuit court issues a final decision that conflicts with Social Security policy, Social Security either appeals that decision to the Supreme Court or implements that decision in accordance with the law. Allsup contends that Social Security is concerned about the high "allowance rate" by administrative law judges in disability cases and wants to "intimidate them into abandoning an oath to provide due process." Again, factually untrue. Our sole aim is to make certain that there is one and only one standard for determining disability at all levels of the adjudicative process and that similar results in similar cases will be consistent nationwide to the greatest extent possible. Social Security has always supported the administrative hearing procedures and the due process rights of claimants.

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