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How Policy Shapes PoliticsRights, Courts, Litigation, and the Struggle Over Injury Compensation$
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Jeb Barnes and Thomas F. Burke

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756117.001.0001

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Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance

The Politics of Bureaucratic Legalism

(p.52) 3 Social Security Disability Insurance
How Policy Shapes Politics

Jeb Barnes

Thomas F. Burke

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the evolving politics of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a classic example of bureaucratic legalism. SSDI followed a distinct political trajectory, with intense conflict during its creation but a relatively calm politics during expansion. There have been moments of conflict, particularly during periods of fiscal strain, yet in an era of polarized conflict over the welfare state, in which “entitlements” are under renewed scrutiny, SSDI seems largely immune from attack. The rise of the disability movement, whose basic premise is that people with disabilities are fully capable of participating in all aspects of social life, including work, has also not seemed to have great effect on the operations of SSDI. The chapter ends with a brief comparison of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an adversarial legal policy for disability with the opposite pattern of a quiet politics of creation with growing conflict.

Keywords:   SSDI, ADA, bureaucratic legalism

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