Updated: 10/24/2013 9:45 AM
Created: 10/23/2013 11:08 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
A local attorney is striking back at a recent senate investigation into so called problems with the social security administrations system of handing out disability benefits.
Your tax dollars fund it, but a recent senate investigation is throwing darts at the social security administration.
Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn's report has fueled a national debate. It finds The Social Security Administration's system of awarding disability benefits is flawed, suggesting many of the recipients, may not deserve these benefits. One local law firm wants you to hear the other side of the story.
Senator Coburns report was highlighted recently on a network news magazine. It finds, more than a quarter of 300 randomly selected disability case files were awarded benefits when insufficient, contradictory and incomplete evidence existed.
Steve Segar of Segar & Sciortino says this report and the network program are off base. He wants to clear up, what he thinks is a wrong impression of people who receive these benefits. Wednesday, we spoke with a client named Caroline. She asked us to protect her son's identity.
“I was shocked how much work it is. I’m a skilled working, professional I have a college degree and it wasn't easy,” said Caroline.
That was her reaction when she first started the process of filing for social security disability benefits for her son. It took her and her husband three years and a few denials to finally get an approval. It just came this week. Her son has Klinefelter syndrome. And while her son appears to be a healthy young adult, she says it is a major disability.
“We're tough parents, we expect him to work. There are no free rides in this world. The problem is he can't work for extended periods of time because of his energy levels. He’ll work for 4 hours and sleep for 6 hours,” said Caroline.
Her son's case was one of about 500 Social Security Disability cases handled each year by Segar & Sciortino. Founding partner Steve Segar tells News10NBC the young man's case illustrates the difference disability benefits can mean for a person. It’s also why he became incensed over a recent network news magazine report that suggested most of the people receiving these benefits are freeloading on your tax dollars, and so are their attorney's.
“There's this presumption or implication that filing or collecting Social Security Disability benefits is like getting unemployment, you just sign up for them and here you go Uncle Sam will give you your check. Well that's ridiculous,” said Segar.
He says it is very difficult to qualify for these benefits, averaging $1,100 a month. He says that's the reason for the calls to his office.
“Remember 60-percent of applicants at the initial stage are denied. So administrative law judges get these cases they're attorneys. They look at the law, they look at the cases, and they make a determination,” said Segar.
The consortium for citizens with disabilities says 57-million Americans are living with a disability and only 4 out of 10 people are approved for benefits. Segar says most of these people are older than 50 and have paid into Social Security, and he tells News10NBC these benefits are not life-long. He says some people are able to go back to work.