Reform SSDI Now, a project of Our Generation, seeks to educate Americans about the rising costs of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and urge them to engage policy makers into taking actions to reform the program. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is federal entitlement program that was created in the 1956.
The purpose of the program was to provide cash benefits to workers who had a substantial work history and could no longer work. At the beginning SSDI provided benefits only for permanently disabled workers over the age of 50 with a substantial work history. Today the criteria to qualify for benefits have expanded immensely and now threatens puts even more pressure on federally financed entitlement programs. Skyrocketing SSDI spending represents the fastest-rising cost for Social Security and not the retiring Baby Boomers.
Federal policy makers and especially Congress need to look at ways to reform the program, which is slated to be insolvent in two years. In 1970, the Disability Insurance program could be financed with a payroll tax rate of only 0.8 percent of wages; today, the cost of SSDI has tripled relative to the 1970 level. Disability benefits now make up 18 percent of all Social Security costs, up from only 10 percent in 1990. In fact, the number of people on SSDI in 2012 exceeds the entire population of New York City at 8,733,461 participants.
Recent research has shown that the rising cost of SSDI is not principally the result of an increase in disabling illnesses but policies that make qualifying for benefits easier. These policies open benefits to the more marginally disabled, raising costs for taxpayers. Part of the solution to rising SSDI costs is to tighten eligibility requirements to focus resources on the most disabled individuals, coupled with incentives to employers to keep disabled individuals working.
So Reform SSDI Now, and become educated, involved and active.