Armen Keteyian's Investigation Already Has Congress Talking

One day after a two-month investigative series revealed the problems plaguing the federal disability program, Rep. Lloyd Doggett,D-Texas, put some tough questions to David Rust, SSA's deputy commissioner for disability, during a previously scheduled hearing on social security benefits.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett: Well I know that you then must be aware of the very troubling reports that have come out this week from the CBS Evening News reporting on what they say is a system-wide culture to deny disability claims at social security. Let me ask you uh with regard to the reviewing of disability claims are you aware of any claims examiner in the country uh who has been discouraged from approving disability claims in any way has been reviewed has received any kind of adverse action of any way concerning the denial or the approval of social security claims.

David Rust: No Congressman, I am not, that is certainly not our policy.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett: So you believe that the CBS Evening News report is false?

David Rust: (hem, haw, sigh) i think we have something like 15,000 state employees in these state disability determination services there in, they are in each state they have different kinds of leadership, different kinds of management, different union involvement it's a very diverse situation out there, so could you find, are there problems? Yes there are problems, this is an extraordinarily complicated program that Congress has given us to manage and there are problems in it, I would not deny that. I would just say that nothing that SSA does tries to instill a culture of denial.