Surge in Disability Claims is Policy driven

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by gatordowneast, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. gatordowneast
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    gatordowneast Premium Member

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    4. Surge in Disability Claims Called a 'Policy-Driven Epidemic'

    The cost of Social Security Disability Insurance has risen so sharply in recent years that its trust fund is now projected to be depleted in just three years.

    The Insider Report disclosed in June 2012 that nearly 11 million Americans were then receiving disability benefits, and the program cost taxpayers $132 billion the previous year — more than the combined annual budgets of the Departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor, Justice, and the Interior.

    But the cost has risen even more since then and is estimated to reach $144 billion this year — up from an inflation-adjusted $56 billion as recently as 2000, according to a report from the Cato Institute.

    The SSDI trust fund is expected to take in $111 billion this year, and the fund would therefore have a deficit of $33 billion.

    In 1970, there were less than 30 disability recipients per thousand U.S. workers; there are now nearly 75.

    The rising number of SSDI recipients is also increasing Medicare spending, because disabled workers can go on Medicare after a two-year waiting period, regardless of their age. Disability status also makes recipients eligible for food stamps and other benefits.

    Medicare benefits for SSDI recipients cost the government about 80 percent as much as the benefits themselves, which means that the disability program rings up another $100 billion in taxpayer costs.

    [F[/SIZE][/FONT]A major reason for the surge in disability claims is that "Congress has expanded benefit levels over the decades, and eligibility standards have been greatly liberalized," Cato observes. "The result is that people capable of working are instead opting for the disability rolls when confronted with employment challenges."

    The disability program formerly benefited people with debilitating conditions such as strokes and cancer. But Congress expanded the benefits pool to include such claimed ailments as depression, back pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome.


    And fewer than 1 percent of those who start collecting benefits return to work.

    The increase in disability claims has occurred even though the share of the U.S. working-age population reporting a severe disability has remained steady over the years.

    Cato cites economists David Autor and Mark Duggan, who wrote that "the rapid growth of Disability Insurance does not appear to be explained by a true rise in the incidence of disabling illness, but rather by policies that increased the subjectivity and permeability of the disability screening process."

    And economist Richard Burkhauser has called the surge in disability beneficiaries "a policy-driven epidemic."

    Cato concludes, "SSDI has become financially unsustainable and economically damaging, and policymakers should pursue major spending cuts to the program."

    Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has said Congress could curb spending on the program by demanding more aggressive screening of applicants and providing more incentives for beneficiaries to go back to work.
  2. G8trGr8t
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    G8trGr8t Premium Member

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    JJ Jr will be filing soon for his$9k per month bipolar disability check. and probably collect it for the rest of his life
  3. candymanfromgc
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    candymanfromgc Well-Known Member

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    In the Obama world-putting people on disability keeps unemployment down.
  4. GatorFanCF
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    Americans don't like to hear "no." Most of us can never imagine going to the grocery store and finding the shelves empty...and having to wait days, maybe weeks (?) for food. Madison Ave. has taught us well (though incorrectly) that we can have whatever we want, pretty much whenever we want.

    One day...
    the union pensioners in major metro Northeast/Midwest US cities
    the retirees depending on Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid
    the retirees who saved
    the welfare recipients
    will be told "there's no room at the Inn" = there is no more money and the money you have is debased/worthless (with $70+ Trillion in obligations this is a certainty). That day there will be a LOT of pissed off people...folks who realize they've believed a lie...folks who have no way of feeding their families....not bad folks - just very, very misled. I hope for the best; but, human nature tells me when folks can't eat they do desperate things. Of course, the authorities in charge will claim "all is well" as they don't need 160 million Americans pissed off (and they will claim this as they secure their safe passage to Brazil, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia). When we borrow 40% of our budget we've already gone too far. Am I wrong?
  5. candymanfromgc
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    candymanfromgc Well-Known Member

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    No your not wrong. Your scenario is very real and those who don't think it can happen here are not facing reality. Yet our government continues to pile up unfunded debt that can NEVER be paid-kicking the can down the road.
  6. gatordowneast
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    gatordowneast Premium Member

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    I do believe we have a "few" elected officials who run for office to make a difference. And they have the best intentions. And then they get to Washington...and disappear. It is almost like they enter the "witness protection program" never to be seen or heard from again until they have been re-indoctrinated. That is why we need term limits to get rid of the 20 and 30 year political hacks that are good at one thing...running the clock out to get themselves reelected and a higher pension.
  7. GatrHeel
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    We've discussed this topic before. The "policy" you all are objecting to began in 1984. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

    This is from the Cato Institute's report (which can be found here: http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/rising-cost-social-security-disability-insurance)

    "Following the Carter administration’s lead, the incoming Ronald Reagan administration initially focused on trimming SSDI costs. However, a political backlash erupted when newspapers began reporting “horror stories” about individuals who had their disability benefits terminated. Some members of Congress pounced on the stories and held dozens of hearings to highlight them. Also, the attempted removals from SSDI led to a growing number of appeals to ALJs, and ultimately rising backlogs of cases. Soon state administrators of SSDI joined the rebellion against the Reagan administration’s attempt to prune the rolls and many stopped reviewing beneficiary eligibility.

    The backlash led to the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984, which effectively reversed the 1980 reforms. The 1984 law required the SSA to develop new standards, which ultimately led to looser eligibility requirements. As one example, the new rules allowed people to gain SSDI benefits if they had numerous nonsevere disabilities that, combined, reduced their work capacity, rather than having a single “severe” impairment. Economist David Autor noted of the 1984 changes, “A key consequence was that applicants with difficult-to-verify disorders such as muscle pain and mental disorders could more easily qualify for benefits.”
  8. MichiGator2002
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    The doubling of the rolls over 4-5 years speaks for itself, obviously something has changed in regards to how loosely any policy is being interpreted. See also, granting Mexicans asylum claims even though on its face there really is no basis for asylum.
  9. gatordowneast
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    I don't think the article was claiming it was all "one" person or "one administration's" fault. However when food stamp rolls increase 20 M in 4 years and those on SS disability double under one administration, and cell phones are doled out like candy at halloween, logically we must ask the question "are we promoting freebies to people capable of providing for themselves" and what is the long term affect of that policy?
  10. GatrHeel
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    Where do you see that the rolls have doubled over 4-5 years? The OP pasted the entire article from Newsmax, but I didn't see that claim in there.

    You won't get any argument from me (or any taxpayer probably) that there are people on disability who can work. But it's a fiction to pretend this started with President Obama.

    (For the record -- I'm not saying you've claimed that it started with the current administration. But there are folks in this forum who are under the impression that the first incidence of disability fraud didn't occur until January 20, 2009.)
  11. GatrHeel
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    I can't speak to the food stamp issue (I don't know anything about it), but can you provide a source for the bolded statement? About the SS disability rolls doubling under one administration?

    I agree with your questions. It's a tough issue. I think people understand that the long-term consequences (and maybe even short term) are pretty awful. But if it was Congress who started got the ball rolling downhill in 1984, then it'll probably be up to Congress to stop it spinning.
  12. gatordowneast
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    My mistake. We've only added 1.6 M to SSD since 2007. Apparently that # is twice what has ever been added during any administration...over 8 years.


    The latest Social Security Administration data document that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) rolls reached a record high of 8.85 million in March 2013, an increase of 1.6 million or 21 percent since the start of the Great Recession in 2007.

    Our SSD costs are now more than food stamps and welfare combined. Wow.

    http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=22996
  13. GatrHeel
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    Well, no, your underlined/bolded statement is false. 2.15 million people were added between 2001 and 2008.

    http://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/currentpay.cgi
  14. gatordowneast
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    So Obama has added approximately the same # in 5 years that Bush did in 8? What about food stamps? What about free cell phones? How is the regime competing in those areas?
  15. GatrHeel
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    Actually, I need to revise that 2.15 number. It was 2.3 between 2001 and 2008. I counted from December 2001 through December 2008. I should have used the December 2000 number as the starting point.

    Anyway, 2.3 > 1.6 (actually 1.4).

    But it looks like we are, indeed, trying to blame this on the President after all. Again. That's where you start to lose me when we're talking disability.

    It's also where you'd start to lose the authors of the Cato report cited in the OP.

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