Unfit for Work

As a long time supporter of WXXI and advocate for the disabled, I was extremely disappointed by Chana Roffe-Walt's piece on disablity that was aired by NPR. Unfit for Work” was unfit to air. It was full of errors & stereotypes about people with disabilities. “Unfit to Work” missed half the story.

Ms. Joffe-Walt mistakenly claims that the standards for disability have changed dramatically since 1984, opening the floodgates for seemingly specious claims. This simply isn’t true. The standard remains very stringent. In fact, less than 40 percent of adult applicants are approved for benefits.

She also makes much of the so-called “Disability Industrial Complex,” as she calls the community of lawyers who represent disability claimants before the Social Security Administration. While many may find the lawyer advertising cited in the report distasteful, Ms. Joffe-Walt gives short shrift to the fact that claimants need advocates to navigate the very complex regulatory and adjudicatory world of Social Security.

Many advocates for the disabled and others have responded to Ms. Joffe-Walt's piece in the press and elsewhere. NPR should air the other side of this story.