Another Call For Change

CBS News is running a two-part investigative story on the short-comings of the Social Security Administration, highlighting the ridiculous length of time disability claimants have to wait before receiving benefits, and the hardships they’re forced to endure in the interim.

It goes out tonight (Monday) on the 5.30 (Central) broadcast, with the second part on Tuesday night.

Social Security employees have been advised of the broadcasts in this internal email from SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue:

Commissioner Broadcast
Monday, January 14, 2008 12:36 PM
COMMISSIONER’S BROADCAST–01/14/08

A Message To All SSA And DDS employees

Disability Story

I wanted all of you to know that the CBS Evening News is doing a two-part investigative series on the disability backlog tonight and tomorrow night.

Part of what CBS will report is precisely what I told Congress in May of last year. I testified, “The length of time many people wait for their final disability decision is unacceptable. Further I said, “For some, the long wait for their day in court leads to homelessness and the loss of family and friends. Sadly, people have died waiting for a hearing.”

It appears from their promotional materials that the stories will focus heavily on the problems — as you might expect from an investigative report. What is less clear is whether they will report on the solutions we have already started implementing.

Let me assure you we did our best to convey to CBS that we are attacking the problems with urgency and that we have made real progress in the past year despite declining resources and increasing demands. As I told CBS, we have dedicated employees who are doing their best to address these problems.

* Keep New:
* Posted on: Mon, Jan 14 2008 5:03 AM
* Updated: Mon, Jan 14

Isn’t it amazing how they’ve always “just started to implement solutions” whenever bad publicity comes the way of government departments?

Having some knowledge of the dreadful working conditions presently being experienced by the grass roots SSA workers, forced to work long, stressful, hours and still unable to cope with the ever-increasing workload and diminishing staff numbers,[1] I can state categorically that responsibility for this sad state of affairs falls directly on the shoulders of senior management and the US Congress, who continue to show an utter lack of concern for the welfare of those so much less fortunate than they are, and whom they are legally charged with protecting.

Yet another disgrace that passes largely unnoticed in this compassionate and democratic nation.

[1] – Sparrow Chat, 8th January, 2008, ‘A Call For Change’

Update: If you missed Part 1 on Monday – Click here.

Or, HERE for Part Two.

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3 Replies to “Another Call For Change”

  1. Social Security is just one of the government services that the conservatives want to strangle to death along with others that are people orientated. If they can’t do it by legislating it out of existance, they will let it limp along.

  2. It is a disgrace, RJ.

    It is also a mystery to me why around half the population continue to support the political party at whose door much of the disgrace lies.

    Is it complacency – the “I’m alright Jack, sod you!” attitude? That doesn’t sit well with the idea of a country supposed to pride itself on its Christian values.

    I have (Pollyanna-like?) hopes that a new Democratic government would take steps to slowly improve matters.

    Without such hope, what’s left?

  3. Flimsy – privatization is what the conservatives want for Social Security. It mustn’t be allowed to happen. To put the people’s money in the hands of private industry is to lose much of it in profits and pay-offs. A crazy idea that suits no-one but the money industry.

    Twilight – some of it is complacency, some is just sheer ignorance and blind stupidity. I’m afraid, more and more, I’m coming round to JIM DAVID’s views on the subject.

    As for hope, well, I guess we need a Pollyanna or two 😉

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