The Social Security Administration may not try to win all of its cases, but it does keep a lid on employee bonuses
I love this. A deep-dive into the actual goings-on of an American institution. So many people have strong opinions on the disability system, but have no idea how it works. Please, continue doing work like this. It's necessary.
SSA probably deserves a long form investigative piece, even this short one is ridiculously interesting to read.
As a worker bee long subject to the “1-3-5” type eval, my theory is that by giving mostly 3s: 1) it justifies not giving raises and 2) keeps employees in line by battering our self-esteem.
performance evaluations are just as skewed as income. The lower the income, the harder to get 5 star evaluations. The higher the income, 5 stars are just rubber stamped. This is true in the corporate world. Bonuses are for the masters. Everybody else can suck it.
Replacing the SSA with basic income would be huge win. So much wasted time and expense to prove or disprove that people need a little money to live on.
I just filed an appeal for a family member two days ago. What great reading.
Great job Matt keep it up
Good article but this is an Article I court, not an executive court.
Just want to add to those saying that this is a great read, love this stuff. Actually reminded me of DFW's Pale King
Of course, there's also the scammers.
I grew up with two guys who tried, very hard, to scam the system.
One friend came out as gay when we were both about 18.
He then started on a long journey of fake suicide attempts.
He'd eat a bunch of pills then call the paramedics.
Each "attempt" got him locked up for observation. I believe it was 30 days,
He'd get out, wait awhile, & then repeat.
His goal was to be declared mentally unable to work.
After about 35 suicide attempts he succeeded.
He won a fairly large cash settlement which he blew in about a month on heroin.
The idiot would literally buy heroin for the junkies in the neighborhood so he'd have someone to shoot up with.
After the money ran out his new junky buddies weren't quite so friendly anymore.
Within a few weeks my buddy had finally mastered suicide.
He hung himself in a neighborhood park during an eclipse.
Another friend impregnated his girlfriend.
In an effort to avoid child support payments he literally went to the library to look through psychology books in order to figure out how to be declared mentally incompetent enough to receive benefits yet not be institutionalized.
After years of doctor's appointments & psychotropic meds he didn't really need he began to believe he actually was mentally incompetent.
To me it seemed like it would have been much easier to just take responsibility &, oh I don't know, grow the fuck up.
Insightful work, Matt. As an Australian, this has all the relatable empathy of a personal interest story but vigorously applied to the many people of a large, critically important bureaucracy. Keep 'em coming, please. I'd happily have this in even longer form.
The SSA review system outlined is awfully similar to what I and others I know experienced with Defense Contracting work. Managers always deflect pointed questions around performance, raises, and layoffs. Great article to write about such a mundane administration IMO.
In 2013 This American Life did a story about what happened after welfare reform: a bunch of former welfare recipients switched to being "disabled." The cost of welfare decreased (to much self-congratulation among politicians), and "welfare reform" was touted as a great success.
As someone who deals with loads of people attempting to get SSDI or have SSDI, the standard line I hear is that the average person is denied 3x before they get approved. This makes the market for lawyers working to secure benefits pretty strong, they get roughly 1/3 of the backpay if/when SSA finally gets approved. Great read!