Social Security Disability Programs Featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes
Social Security was the focus of the October 6, 2013 episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes. The program included interviews with a number of individuals, including members of Congress, several Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), and an attorney who is being investigated for misconduct.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) itself, however, was not included in the piece, and therefore, could not respond to the program’s criticisms of its services. Also of note, there were no benefit recipients, disability policy experts, or disability advocates included in the piece, leading some to suggest that the criticisms leveled at the SSA during the piece lacked dimension and credibility.
In response to the freeze out, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) and a number of national disability advocacy organizations made attempts to contact 60 Minutes producers before the show aired, but received no response. NOSSCR followed up with a post-broadcast statement in an attempt to correct and clarify points made about the SSA’s disability programs on the air. It also worked closely with the media to generate more positive, accurate coverage of the SSA following the broadcast.