As the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program heads towards the forecast exhaustion of its trust fund, various proposals are suggest to prevent the average SSDI recipient in Ohio from suffering a 20 percent loss of their benefit payment.
As is the fashion today, it is frequently criticized because it is grown. The fact that there are 8.9 million beneficiaries today is compared with 1.4 million in 1970, and it is implied that this is bad. It is more expensive. And Congress has been negligent in failing to properly fund the growth of SSDI that it has known was coming for the last 30 years.
But the discussion is always couched in terms that imply the growth is not genuine or organic, or that it is due to fraud, abuse, corruption, or laziness; in essence, some moral failing. The critics seem to suggest that Americans are less industrious, more prone to whining and giving up, than they were a generation to two ago.
Maybe, we do not have the sociological data to argue the point, but a few things to consider. In 1970, fewer women worked outside the home and when they were disabled, they were ineligible for SSDI, because housework does not count towards SSDI qualification.
Back then, many industrial, unionized workers had superior benefits to those of many part-time, service and retail workers, and when they became disabled, they may have had more robust insurance programs available. Today, much of the workforce receives no health or disability benefits, meaning government programs like SSDI are their only option.
The bottom line is there is much need in this country for disability programs and the truth few wish to admit is that the growth in SSDI is genuine and these people with their disabilities will not go away simply by allowing to program to be eroded way by Congresses’ neglect.
Source: Human Events, “No Silver Bullets For Looming SSDI Crisis,” M. MacMillin Slobodien, September 19, 2013