One of the most pernicious topics that arise when discussing the Social Security Disability insurance program is the assertion that there is a great deal of fraud present. It is an easy claim to make, often backed up with some anecdotal evidence along the lines of "my cousin's best friend's coworker's uncle knows someone who is on SSD and they go fishing every week."
And perhaps they are correct. Maybe that person has gamed the system. However, they make the fallacious logical leap that because they "know," no matter how tenuously, of at least one instance of questionable benefits receipt, must mean that "it" happens a lot. Studies that have examined SSD claimants have not provided support for any claims of widespread fraud within the system.
Ironically, the Republicans in Congress who are most likely to make this wild assertion are also happy to vote against providing funds for the Social Security Administration to devote more time to auditing claims or otherwise working towards improving the overall integrity of the process.
The truth is, most of those who receive SSD benefits are age 50 or older, have lower educational levels, have likely worked in jobs that required hard physical labor and are likely to die earlier than others their age. It is unsurprising that as they age, their bodies become weakened and less able to endure the physical punishment demanded in their lines of work.
They also are less likely to be qualified for more sedentary jobs, and significantly, they may live in areas where those types of jobs are unavailable. This explains why some areas of the nation have higher approval rates for SSD, as opposed to the suggestion that the administrative law judges are "more lenient," and simply approve all who come before them.
False claims regarding fraud in the SSD program slander the genuinely disabled and do nothing to fix the real problems with the program.
Source: nytimes.com, "Busting the Myths About Disability Fraud," Teresa Tritch, September 8, 2015