Nighttime Must-Read: Michael Hiltzik: Why Use Years-Old Data to Attack Social Security Disability?

This looks very bad for Mark Warshawsky and Ross Marchand: using outdated data that misrepresents the current situation is really not something you want to gain a reputation for doing. I’m interested if there is an alternative explanation they would not tell Hiltzik:

Michael Hiltzik: Why did the WSJ use years-old data to attack Social Security disability?: “Mark J. Warshawsky… and Ross A. Marchand…. Warshawsky declined to answer my questions about the piece on the record…

…but referred me to a lengthier treatment he published in Bloomberg’s Pension & Benefits Daily in 2012. First question: Why did Warshawsky and Marchand use case figures from 2008?… Social Security’s own inspector general’s office… found… that the average approval rate has been coming down for years–reaching 56% in fiscal 2013…. Warshawsky and Marchand even allude to… reforms implemented by… Michael Astrue…. In his 2012 piece, Warshawsky… determined that even by 2011 ALJs on average had become significantly stingier. That only makes it harder to explain why the outdated 2008 figure became the linchpin of Monday’s op-ed…. An op-ed that appears to be based on statistics but whose import is political…. Warshawsky and Marchand are right to observe that the disability appeals system needed to be made more efficient and fair…. But calling it ‘a benefit bonanza’? No one thrown out of work by a disability and living on $1,165 month after meeting the program’s stringent approval standards would define it that way.

March 11, 2015

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