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Social Security under fire

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Posted: 2 pm ET

The Social Security Administration has begun warning recipients that unless the debt ceiling is raised by Oct. 17, it might not be able to pay all benefits that are due after that date.

In consultation with the Treasury Department, Social Security is reportedly telling beneficiaries who ask: "Unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk."

And on Monday, a Senate committee released a report accusing a retired West Virginia administrative law judge, David B. Daugherty, of colluding with a Kentucky attorney, Eric C. Conn, to approve more than 1,800 Social Security disability cases during a four-year period. The report alleges that Conn paid five doctors nearly $2 million to rubber-stamp the cases. Conn himself received more than $4.5 million in attorney fees directly from the Social Security Administration during that period.

Social Security has been investigating the case and placed Daugherty on administrative leave in 2011. He retired shortly thereafter. Conn is accused of shredding most of the evidence.

Nearly 11 million disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security disability benefits today, up from 8.3 million in 2011 and just 1.4 million in 1970. The average monthly worker benefit is $1,130. Social Security has blamed the increase on the rising number of aging baby boomers who are too young to receive retirement benefits.

All of this adds up to a retirement planning fiasco. No matter how you think it should be accomplished, getting the nation's economy and financial systems back on solid footing has to be a priority. Part of that job includes adopting reforms that will insure that Social Security can continue to pay its obligations.

How would you get that job done?

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October 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I have worked eversince i was 15 and payed in ss until I go in a terrible accident 4 years ago, i depend on that disability check for me and my daughter, dont know what we would do without it, what would happen to us who cant even walk or much less stand for 5 minutes....i just hope it doesnt get tooken away from the ones who really need it....

October 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

Why is it always Social Security benefits that are threatened? You never hear anything about welfare benefits being stopped, ever, or the system running "out of welfare money." Keep sending welfare money out to people who "could" work, just choose not to in most cases and keep having babies for that extra monthly benefit. But those depending on Social Security each month have to be worried and threatened!! Something is wrong here.

John Sharp Sampaga
October 18, 2013 at 11:20 am

I'll be 75 in March, 2014. I've been working and paying into the Social Security system since I was 10 or 11, that's over 60 years. I've been in the communications field some 55 years. I am still working full time. I've been receiving SS payments since February, 2004 and contributing over $3,000 per year and a similar "contribution" to Medicare. The increases each year have been $4.00 per month, or $48.00 per year for each. This is not fair. I should not be "contributing" to the systems, or the annual increase should be an amount relative to what my employer and I contribute to the system. This is robbery.

October 18, 2013 at 10:47 am


October 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

I agree 100% with Loraine.
It's our money! The government should stop tapping into Social Security,(SS). As a matter of fact I doubt they have ever returned what they have "borrowed," over the years, from SS.
If they take any more I for sure will not vote for any incumbents.

October 18, 2013 at 10:37 am

Patty Murry,, WA State,wanted to give SS and medical benefits to undocumented aliens. Face it gang, what cost is the 11 million undocumented aliens bringing to America.Food,medical,school,medical care,fire,police and all they had to do was cross the river and spit out a kid or two.

B. Britton
October 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

Why is it we are always hearing about SS going broke but never hear about the Welfare system in this country going broke? I would say most of us on SS worked for our benefits, those on Welfare did not. What is wrong with this picture......b.b.

lila furlow
October 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

there should be stiffer rules on our government. rules have been in place for our NATIONAL GUARD so it seems our congress should apply the same 'LOYALTY' rules to themselves, such as salaries/tenure which would fix a bloatedcongress.

October 18, 2013 at 10:16 am

Don't worry. There is not going to be any Social Security left for anyone in a couple of years and the govt will be broke and there will be no money for anyone who really needs it.

October 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

You would think our government would meet its obligations to those who paid into the system instead of sending billions of dollars to foreign countries who want our money but don't like us and don't want us there. They want our money. Stop supporting the world and take care of us at home. We paid into this program and we are due it. Stop using these threatening tactics on us. Keep our money at home for 2 years and see what happens. You could also cut Medicaid. This is not an entitlement. Don't threaten social Security and Medicare. Most of us pay for our Medicare premium each month- it is not free. Plus, if we worked, we also paid each payday just as we paid our social security taxes.