A recently released report claims the number of people in our region who receive disability benefits is three times the national average.
WTRF's sister station WOWK visited the economically strapped border between Kentucky and West Virginia. The two states consistently rank as the states with the highest number of people getting disability checks. Many rely on the benefits to survive, while others doubt the system's credibility.
West Virginia resident Paul Thomasson blamed a culture of reliance. "These people ain't gonna work," Thomasson said. "Even if they got their disability took, they'd just starve."
Meanwhile, a new congressional hearing revealed that a retired Social Security judge in West Virginia and a Kentucky-based lawyer improperly awarded disability benefits to hundreds of people, allegedly falsifying medical records.
Nearly 11 million disabled workers, spouses and children get Social Security disability benefits in the U.S. That's a 45 percent increase from a decade ago. The average monthly benefit for a disabled worker is $1,130.