Social Security Disability Insurance is on track to run out of money in 2016. This threatens the benefits of 9 million Americans who now receive SSDI payments.
Nine million: That’s 20 times as many as received payments in 1960, even though working conditions and health in general have improved greatly over the half-century, say many observers. In 1960 fewer than 100,000 people were officially disabled because of “mood disorders” or “musculoskeletal” problems, largely back pain, but now more than 4 million are.
I’m not knocking psychological problems or back pain, both of which can be disabling, but many analysts believe that many able-to-work individuals are on the rolls. One minor example: The U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2010 checked data from 12 states and found that 62,000 individuals who had met federal requirements for full disability benefits “received or had renewed commercial drivers’ licenses.”
Having more people on SSDI politically benefits President Barack Obama, whose approval rating would be even lower if the unemployment rate counted those using SSDI as a form of unemployment insurance. It doesn’t benefit people—made in God’s image, which includes the ability to work and help others—to be on the dole rather than on the job. It will be especially bad for the truly disabled if SSDI runs out of money and has to cut benefits.
I’m writing an article about disability insurance for WORLD and would like to cite some examples of people who are truly disabled and receiving SSDI payments, or payments from another governmental program also designed to benefit the disabled, Supplemental Security Income. (Nearly 6 million people are on the SSI rolls, and nearly 3 million more receive both SSDI and SSI.) If you know of someone on SSDI or SSI who is willing to be quoted in WORLD, please send names and contact information to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.