Why the Social Security Disability System Is Broken

Most people think of Social Security as being a retirement-income program, but it also helps those with disabilities make ends meet. Unfortunately, controversy and allegations of abuse have plagued the Social Security Disability Income system for years, and proposed fixes haven't been enough to resolve the real problem.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at the way decisions about disability benefits are made. Dan notes that new Social Security Administration rules would clamp down on the requirement of those seeking benefits to provide all relevant information, even if it goes against their own interest. Lawyers for applicants, however, note that they have a duty to help their clients win. Dan suggests that the better answer is to have the court appoint an impartial third party, similar to a trustee in bankruptcy, to gather information impartially and let the adversarial system work. Otherwise, the ethical quandries are too difficult to navigate.

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  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 9:13 AM, jfnics wrote:

    A better alternative for fools is to purchase an individual income protection plan (disability insurance) from the private market - it provides broader coverage, more benefits and easier claims process. for educational information.

    For my disability story -

    Fool on - healthy, wealthy and protected!

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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