The article "Soc. Sec. disability in peril" [News, Aug. 22] includes a quote from Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue that is offensive to disability applicants. The article discusses how the Social Security disability program is in financial trouble as aging baby boomers and laid-off workers file large numbers of claims.

One would expect disability claims to increase as more people near retirement age, since older workers are more likely to become unable to work. Also, many laid-off workers were allowed to work with special accommodations, especially those who had developed good will with their employers over many years.

Instead of recognizing the legitimate reasons why more people need to apply for disability benefits under the present circumstances, Astrue attributes the increase to "economic desperation" as claimants "take a shot at disability."

Assuming that a claimant "takes a shot" out of desperation demonstrates a preconceived notion that violates the supposed non-adversarial process of evaluating disability claims.

Jeffrey Delott, Jericho

Editor's note: The writer is a lawyer who handles disability claims.

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