Cornell Law Review Volume 92 Issue 2

Medical Proof, Social Policy, and Social Security’s Medically Centered Definition of Disability

Disability is one of the well-known categories of “deserving poor” that have defined eligibility for public benefit programs in the United States since the colonial period. Yet the first major federal public benefits law, the Social Security Act of 1935 (the Act), did not include disability as a basis of entitlement. This was in part because the framers of the Act […]

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The Social Security Administration’s New Disability Adjudication Rules: A Significant and Promising Reform

On March 31, 2006, the Social Security Administration (SSA) promulgated regulations implementing a new Disability Service Improvement (DSI) process for making disability decisions in the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. In general, the DSI process adopts the approach SSA outlined in proposed rules eight months earlier, with some important improvements over the originally proposed process. The key […]

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A Response to Bloch, Lubbers & Verkuil’s The Social Security Administration’s New Disability Adjudication Rules: A Cause for Optimism . . . and Concern

Professors Bloch, Lubbers, and Verkuil have performed a yeomen’s service in advising the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) on reforming the process for administrative decision making and appeals. In a well-balanced article for this Symposium, the professors generally praise the Commissioner’s new Disability Service Improvement (DSI) process, which SSA will phase in starting with claims filed […]

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Social Security and Government Deficits: When Should We Worry?

During his 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush faced an unexpected show of unity from Democratic legislators. After the President noted, with visible regret, that Congress had failed to push forward his plan to privatize at least part of the Social Security program, the Democrats—who had precious little to cheer about in the President’s speech up to […]

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Comment on Neil H. Buchanan’s Social Security and Government Deficits: When Should We Worry?

Professor Neil Buchanan is not alone in questioning whether a Social Security funding crisis actually exists. Despite widely accepted predictions by the Social Security Administration, there is a small but growing cadre of respected scholars who are rightly skeptical of actuarial figures geared to motivate policymakers toward a certain political agenda. However, even if Professor Buchanan and others are […]

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Social Security Reform: Lessons From Private Pensions

Widespread concerns about the long-term fiscal gap in Social Security have prompted various proposals for structural reform, with individual accounts as the centerpiece. In particular, the proposals issued by the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security in its 2001 final report would carve out a substantial portion of the existing defined benefit structure and replace it with […]

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Transforming the Role of the Social Security Administration

Americans depend on their Social Security benefits because they do not save. Individuals who have discretionary income, and therefore could save for retirement, do not save because they do not plan. Financial planning for retirement requires both motivation and knowledge. However, workers under age thirty appear to lack these qualities; many procrastinate in saving and are often not knowledgeable investors. Motivation […]

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Professional Responsibility and Social Security Representation: The Myth of the State-Bar Bar to Compliance with Federal Rules on Production of Adverse Evidence

The Social Security administrative law system is probably the largest adjudicatory system in the world. Each year, Social Security administrative law judges (ALJs) decide hundreds of thousands of claims, the vast majority of which concern whether an individual applicant meets the disability standards for receiving benefits under one of two related programs: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental […]

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