Alarming Figure about SSDI

Many people go to work every day amid the aches and pains that are the inevitable when getting older.  Many of us also wish we didn’t have to go to work, but we do anyway.  Unfortunately, for some of those who are on federal entitlement programs, they do not place a priority in getting back to work.  The Examiner conducted a survey of those who are on the means-tested SSI program as well as the SSDI program and found the following results:

Returning to work is not a goal for 71 percent of the SSDI recipients, 60 percent of the SSI recipients.

  • 75 percent of the SSDI recipients don’t see themselves returning to work within five years, 65 percent of the SSI recipients don’t.
  • 72 percent of the small number of SSDI recipients who started a job while on disability got cash under the table, as did 70 percent of the small number of SSI recipients who started a job while on disability.

The SSDI program will be bankrupt in less than three years.  These survey results, while surprising, is what most people who follow these programs suspected was already taking place.  The survey results confirm the notion that better cost controls need to be placed on these programs and more incentives need to be put in place to get recipients back to work.  Among the policy changes that would have a positive impact on the SSDI program are the following:

Tighten eligibility requirements and conduct Continuing Disability Reviews of existing beneficiaries to reassess their disability status;

  • Include greater oversight power for the Social Security Administration by administrative law judges who make SSDI decisions; and
  • Add “experience rating” for disability payroll taxes so employers who can keep individuals with disabilities on the job will be rewarded with lower taxes, while those who shift workers onto SSDI will pay more; and

If these reforms were put into place they would save about $50 billion per year by 2030, enough to erase 11 percent of Social Security’s long-term deficit.

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