It is an unfortunate reality that there are many critics of the Social Security Disability program, who despite evidence to the contrary, claim that benefits are too high, that the system is abused, and that it is simply too easy to get approved for benefits. Typical of this last argument is a statement made by Senator and Presidential Candidate Rand Paul, who recently proclaimed that “over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts — join the club. Who doesn’t get a little anxious for work and their back hurts?”

Senator Paul’s statement is, of course, completely at odds with the very long, difficult, and stringent process that most claimants in the Unites States must face before receiving disability benefits. These attacks from Senator Paul and other critics seem even more unreasonable when you examine the United States’ disability program in a global context.

When we compare the disability programs available in other advanced economies, the U.S. actually has one of the strictest tests for disability eligibility in the developed world. These findings were detailed in a study of global disability programs by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which revealed that the U.S. has the most restrictive and least generous disability benefits system of all OECD member countries, with the exception of South Korea.

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As summarized by The Guardian newspaper: “the US system of benefits for disabled people could be used as a cautionary tale for anyone who wants to know what happens when state financial support for citizens with physical or mental impairments is paired down to the minimum.” So instead of disparaging Social Security Disability and those who rely on it to survive, Senator Paul should be asking how the US can improve its disability program by making the process simpler, fairer, and more generous to those who need it.

About Citizens Disability, LLC: Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Their mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work- helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled.

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