Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Members of Congress seek to make Social Security Disability an adversarial program

This video was posted by Disability Attorney Jonathan Ginsberg. As he states, it is fairly difficult to watch this Social Security administrative law judge--who is obviously very nervous--being grilled by South Carolina’s 4th District Congressman, Trey Gowdy.

Gowdy is, to put it plainly, a jerk. He does not give the judge, who is somewhat elderly, a chance to formulate his thoughts or respond to Mr. Gowdy's fairly vicious and disrespectful form of questioning. I should point out that Mr. Gowdy, southern gentleman that he is, seems to delight in using profanity while conducting his public questioning (he doesn't seem to understand the fact that he himself is also a public servant and should be held to a higher standard of composure).

While the judge did not do a good job of withstanding this blistering attack (disguised as questioning) he did get in one major point by stating that, in the Social Security Disability system, the government does not have its own lawyers because...the system is not intended to be adversarial, but, rather, a fair exploration of the medical and vocational evidence.

Mr. Gowdy's questioning pretty sums up the intent of conservatives in Congress: they want to make it much more difficult for individuals to obtain disability benefits. Individuals like Mr. Gowdy of South Carolina seem to believe that the majority of applicants filing for disability are thieves and malingerers, and this is why they are attacking judges, and have been doing this for several years now. By trying to openly discredit judges, they are causing the entire corps of administrative law judges to make fewer approvals (for the last three years as this has gone on, the average approval rate at hearings has slid downward year after year).

Eventually people like this Congressman would like the SSD and SSI disability programs to either go away, or become so much more arduous that practically no one qualifies for disability benefits. If you live in South Carolina and have a disability, this man is not your friend. If you have a friend or relative with serious functional limitations arising from a physical or mental impairment, the same is true. Because people like Gowdy are not interested in allowing them to get any relief. They, like most members of Congress, are interested in supporting their personal agendas and special interests. But, as most of us know, the poor and the disabled have never been special interests of conservatives in Congress, though big business and the top 1 percent of wealth holders traditionally are.

Here's the video link: Social Security Judge attacked by Congressman

On a personal note, I've shown this video to several individuals and, regardless of their politics, their reaction to Gowdy was "what an a$$h@le".

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