Rand Paul’s Disability Test: Can You Hop Out of Your Truck?

March 11, 2015

Rand Paul recently stated:

What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting your disability check. Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club … Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts. Everybody over 40 has a little back pain.

This comment is among the most insensitive that I have heard regarding the Social Security Disability program.  I represent many, many people with limitations that are not immediately evident.  Young adults with intellectual disabilities; people who suffer severe fatigue due to multiple sclerosis; women with hands that shake constantly due to Parkinson’s disease; men with arthritic knees due to many many years of arduous labor….the list is endless.

Despite the increasing difficulty obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, I am happy that no one is implementing Senator Paul’s “Hop Out of Your Truck” test for disability.

The Washington Post wrote a follow up piece and determined that Paul’s comments had “serious factual errors” and stated that while the comments were made while Paul was speaking off-the-cuff, the clear implication was that there were significant numbers of “able bodied people taking the [disability]money” through common ailments like back pain and being anxious about work.  The fact are that the rate of fraud relatively low, but fraud mostly involves people who are working who should not be getting payments, rather than people who are getting paid and not working. Moreover, even a generous interpretation of the data does not generate a figure close to more than half of beneficiaries getting paid for simply back pain and anxiety.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: