Social Security Disability Increased by 5.4 Million Under Obama

April 25, 2012
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Investors reported that 5.4 million workers and their dependents have been added to the disability rolls under President Obama according to government data. The biggest reason is the recession and lack of jobs.

The labor participation rate went down by 1.2 million people in January, reducing the unemployment rate. The people have disappeared and some  of them can be found on the social security disability rolls.

White House study found that more and more people have lost jobs, received unemployment benefits for as long as possible, and then received disability.

Investors:“…Since the recession ended in June 2009, the number of new enrollees to Social Security’s disability insurance program is twice the job growth figure. (See nearby chart.) In just the first four months of this year, 539,000 joined the disability rolls and more than 725,000 put in applications.

As a result, by April there were a total of 10.8 million people on disability, according to Social Security Administration data released this week. Even after accounting for all those who’ve left the program — about 700,000 drop out each year, mainly because they hit retirement age or died — that’s up 53% from a decade ago…”Keep reading…

Part of the problem is that eligibility rules have been eased since 1984 and that problem is worsening with depression caused by the recession and inability to find work an acceptable disability.

Last November, the Government Accountability Office said that Social Security Disability is unsustainable. The amount of payments are averaging $1000 a month.

…According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, growing numbers of individuals applying for Social Security Disability benefits are filing claims based on mental problems, back injuries or pain. Mood disorders, depression, and back pain are difficult to quantify and evaluate, and, sadly, tens of thousands of fraudulent claims have the potential of making it through the system…

…In 2011, the SSDI disability program paid out approximately $130 billion in benefits, while the trust fund took in approximately $110 billion in taxes…the GAO report determined that over $5 billion was overpaid to beneficiaries in 2010. While the Social Security Administration is working to recoup those funds, chances are that they will never see them…

The following is an example, of how easy it is to qualify. Depression is one of the mental illnesses accepted as a disability under Social Security Disability. If Social Security agrees that a person can’t perform unskilled work, the person will get disability benefits.

Depressive Syndrome including at least four of the following conditions:

  • Anhedonia or continuous loss of interest in daily activities
  • Substantial change in weight and appetite
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Retardation or psychomotor agitation
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoia, delusions or hallucination

Social Security must consider how your depression symptoms affect your ability to do unskilled work, which requires you to:

  • understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions
  • make simple work-related decisions
  • respond appropriately to supervision and co workers, and
  • handle changes in routine.

Under this guideline, most unemployed workers would qualify. Disability requirements need to be reformed but an improvement in the job situation would be the best possible reform.

In 2012, over 56 million Americans will receive $760 billion in Social Security benefits according to the ssa.gov website. 

  • In 1940, the life expectancy was 62.9; today it is 78.7. (info.please)
  • By 2036, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as today — from 43.2 million today to 78.1 million.
  • There are currently 2.9 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By 2036, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary. (That number is growing worse very quickly and it appears that social security will crash and burn a lot sooner.)
Social Security Disability is clearly unsustainable and needs reform sooner rather than later.

Let’s not forget some other alarming statistics -

  • 47% of TAX FILERS pay no taxes.
  • 57% of FILERS receive federal benefits.
  • The top 10% of earners pay 70% of the federal taxes
  • The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. It said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014. Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to $72 billion in 2011, up from $30 billion four years earlier. The CBO projected that one in seven U.S. residents received food stamps last year.
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