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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    "Failing The Disabled"

    Two years ago, 52-year-old Sherry Farner was a manager at a Denny's restaurant. But heart problems, strokes, and kidney failure put an end to her employment.

    "I can't be alone, because I fall a lot. This is the hardest thing I've ever been through," Farner told CBS News chief investigative reporter Armen Keteyian. "And I wouldn't wish this on nobody."

    When Farner filed a claim against a lifetime of paying into federal Social Security disability, she was turned down -- twice. Even though a rejection letter acknowledged she was severely disabled. But not disabled enough: Unable to perform work of any kind.

    "It's a very tough standard," said Michael Astrue, commissioner of the Social Security Administration. "And you can argue whether that should be the standard or not, but I'm stuck with that."

    A two-month CBS News Investigation uncovered a system whose own standards have been called into question - a federal agency reeling from budget cuts and high staff turnover. Doctors making decisions outside their specialties, and inexperienced examiners under pressure to keep costs down.

    "We're failing the disabled on a very large scale," said Trisha Cardillo, who worked inside the system for years, reviewing 200 federal disability cases a month in Ohio.



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